Call to join rail fares petition

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COMMUTERS in Eastbourne are being encouraged to voice their anger at rail fare increases after the town was picked as one of 40 key stations which will launch a new petition.

Over the coming few days passengers using Eastbourne Station will be asked to sign a petition demanding cheaper prices as part of the Fair Fares Now campaign.

The town’s MP, Stephen Lloyd, met with local campaigners to hear first-hand from passengers struggling with transport costs.

With fares now rising four times faster than wages, next year a season ticket from Eastbourne to London is set to rise by £313.31 to £4,181.31.

Campaigners claim the spiralling cost of rail fares means it would cost Transport Secretary Philip Hammond twice as much to commute from his Surrey home into London by train than in his Jaguar - while producing four times less carbon emissions.

With the Coalition Government currently reviewing rail fares, the UK-wide petition being pushed in Eastbourne aims to let ministers know how unpopular and damaging year-on-year fare hikes are.

It calls on the Government to reverse its decision to raise fares by 28 per cent over the next four years in favour of more affordable tickets which lobbyists say provide far better value for money and encourage people to choose the train.

Campaign for Better Transport spokesman Alexandra Woodsworth said, “Despite rising fuel costs, it’s still often cheaper to drive than to take the train. With inflation running so high and living costs soaring across the board, it’s time for the Government to re-think further punitive fare increases and make sure train travel is affordable and accessible to all.”

And it was a sentiment echoed by Mr Lloyd, who told the Herald, “These whopping price increases are simply outrageous.

“It’s bad enough our trains take so long to get up to London, but to increase the season ticket by over £300 as well is just adding insult to injury.”

For more information, or to sign the petition, visit www.fairfaresnow.org.uk/petition.