Welsh Passengers Should Not be Forced to Cover Costs of Rail Improvements

July 25, 2007 6:09 PM

Commenting on the Government's new rail strategy, Jenny Willott MP said:

"I welcome many of the measures in this strategy. Plans to ease overcrowding and congestion at Cardiff and Swansea stations are definitely overdue: people have suffered with poor conditions on trains in South Wales for too long.

"However, the costs of these improvements must not be passed on to passengers.

"It is in everyone's interest for rail travel to be efficient, comfortable and financially attractive. Rail travel is at least twice as fuel efficient as car travel and emits less than half as much carbon per passenger.

"Over the last 30 years rail travel costs have risen by 55% while car travel has become 10% cheaper. We now have the most expensive rail travel anywhere in Europe. How are people going to be persuaded out of their cars when fares are set to rise even further?

"South Wales rail passengers have already been soundly squeezed by rail fare rises. The Government has committed to maintaining the cap on regulated fares, but they must ensure they are not met by further unreasonable price hikes on unregulated rail fares. We must make sure that these necessary improvements do not come at the cost of making the rail travel even more expensive compared to car travel."

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