Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Protest over rail fares 'robbery'

A TSSA poster handed to rail passengers in protest at rising rail fares

Rail commuters have been handed "wanted" posters bearing images of Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, as part of a union protest against big increases in train fares.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) warned that fares will jump by 25% over the next four years unless the current formula for above-inflation increases is changed.

The posters were headlined "Wanted For The Great Train Fares Robbery", and urged passengers to join a coalition of unions and environmental groups fighting the increases, which begin in January with rises expected to average 8%.

The union urged rail passengers to sign up to new group Together For Transport, backed by the Campaign for Better Transport and Climate Rush.

Thousands of the posters were handed to passengers at London's Victoria, Waterloo, Euston, King's Cross and Liverpool Street stations and at Bristol, Brighton, Swindon and Coventry during the morning rush-hour.

"It is simply outrageous that passengers who rely on rail to get to work should be held to ransom every year by ministers," said TSSA leader Manuel Cortes.

"Here we are in the worst recession in living memory and passengers are expected to find huge sums of money when their pay is being frozen or hardly rising at all. We want them to join us in telling Cameron and Clegg that enough is enough. Why should they have to pay these stealth taxes when fares are already the highest in Europe?"

The poster, which also has a picture of Chancellor George Osborne, says that January will see the "daylight robbery" of fares going up by an average of 8%, adding that some will increase by 13%.

"Enough is enough. It's time to tell the Government to stop this unfair stealth tax on passengers," said the poster.

In a table headlined Paying Through the Nose, the TSSA gave examples of how annual season tickets will increase by 2015 under the current formula, including Swindon to London, from £7,024 now to £9,009 (a rise of almost £2,000; Norwich to London, £6,540 to £8,388 (£1,848); Canterbury to London, £4,328 to £5,551 (£1,223); Guildford to London, £2,916 to £3,740 (£824) and Manchester to Liverpool, £2,536 to £3,253 (£717).

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