Labour urged to freeze rail fares
Labour is being urged to freeze rail fares if it wins the election after a new study showed the cost of travelling on some routes has more than trebled since the industry was privatised.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said Labour should commit to freezing fares for a year from next January.
Research for the union showed that fares on some of the most popular routes in the country have increased by between 141% and 246% over the past 20 years, while inflation has gone up by 77% over the same period.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: "Passengers have paid a terrible price for this political folly. The private rail industry has taken all the gain while passengers have suffered all the pain.
"Passengers have paid a small fortune on fares while rail bosses are paid a fortune.
"We want to end this annual persecution of passengers which started after privatisation. We now want Ed Miliband to treat rail passengers fairly, not just as another source of tax revenue like the Tories have done."
The study of anytime return fares - the most expensive - showed an increase of 246% between Bristol and London, 243% between Manchester to London and 232% between Liverpool and London.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and train operators, said: "The TSSA's figures are misleading in the extreme because they deliberately focus only on the most expensive fares.
"On average, the cost of rail travel has increased by 6% in real terms over the last 15 years. This helps to explain why passenger numbers have almost doubled over the same period, contributing to a fivefold increase in money going back to government to reinvest in a better railway."