Only One Week Left to Demand Cheaper Train Fares

3rd October 2002
news
release

Campaigners from Manchester Friends of the Earth [1] are today asking rail passengers to
support their campaign for fairer rail fares. Members of the public have until 11th October to respond to the consultation on rail fares that the Strategic Rail Authority are carrying out [2].

The environmentalists have made responding to the consultation easy. They have postcards that passengers need only sign and have set up a web site where concerned commuters can respond using a suggested or their own message [3]. This week, the environmental group has been giving out the postcards for passengers to sign to support their calls for fairer fares. The support from passengers has been very encouraging.
Transport Campaigner Graeme Sherriff urged passengers to support their campaign:-
“The UK has some of the most expensive rail fares in the world and all the rules and restrictions make fares so complicated even some of the staff get confused! We know that high fares are one of the biggest barriers to greater use of the trains. The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) must address these problems in their review of fares policy. An accessible and affordable train service is a vital component of a sustainable transport network.”

Friends of the Earth’s 3 key demands [4] for change are:-
1. Introduce a National off-peak rail card
2. Introduce more controls on ‘walk-on’ fares
3. Introduce a simpler fares structure that everyone can understand

Andrew MacFarlane of the Railfuture added:-
“The SRA are saying that fare increases may be necessary to pay for improvements to the
network and ease overcrowding. We doubt if many passengers would agree, and we would
urge them to support our campaign. Many European countries have cheaper fares and better run rail systems. They can do it, so can we.”

More Information available from: Graeme Sherriff, Co-ordinator
Manchester Friends of the Earth
Email: graeme@ecoworld.co.uk Mobile: 07905 790426

Notes to Editors
[1] Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at www.foe.co.uk).

[2] The SRA fares consultation ends on 11th October, further information is available at :-
http://www.sra.gov.uk/sra/news/other.tt2

[3] Postcards being given out by Manchester Friends of the Earth, and members of the public can take part in the campaign by going to the website www.manchesterfoe.org.uk

[4] National off-peak rail cards are already used in many European countries, for an annual fee of (say) £25 the user would get a discount of (say) 50% on standard rail tickets. Much of the rail network has under-used spare capacity outside of peak hours, this proposal would encourage greater use of those empty seats.  Although there are ‘book ahead’ bargain fares available, many ‘walk-on’ fares are ‘unregulated’ and have rocketed since privatisation. For example, a London –Manchester standard open return has increased
by 75% since 1998 to £172.
Privatisation has resulted in a confusing myriad of tickets with different names and different conditions, Friends of the Earth wants to see a set of standard ticket names and conditions introduced.