Train fare campaigners in call to MP for urgent action

Campaigners at eastbourne Railway Station
Campaigners at eastbourne Railway Station

A demonstration was held at Eastbourne Railway Station last week to protest at rising rail fares.

The campaigners have also called on Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd to act quickly and make representations to the rail company that passengers are having to fork out more when they are already faced with mounting bills due to the current economic climate.

The protest was organised by the FareFail Coalition, a new national campaign opposing high train fares and campaigners spent more than an hour alerting commuters to what they called Mr Lloyd’s support for rising train travel costs.

The early morning protest came after research showing that, after 10 consecutive years of above-inflation fare rises, Eastbourne is in the top 10 for fastest rising season ticket costs to London.

Local activists gave out postcards informing station visitors that an annual season ticket between Eastbourne and London had risen by 58 per cent in the last 10 years and now stands at £4,304.

They also pointed out that in January, Stephen Lloyd had voted against a motion in Parliament opposing the fares rises.

Eastbourne resident Jake Lambert said, “We had a really good response from passengers at the station this morning, who like us are sick and tired of being asked to fork out more and more just so we can get to work and back.

“Rail fares are out of control – it’s nothing more than a tax on going to work and it’s got to stop. For Stephen Lloyd to vote in Parliament to say that these fare rises are a good thing is a slap in the face to the people of Eastbourne.”

On January 9 Stephen Lloyd voted against a House of Commons motion tabled by the Labour party, calling on the Government to ban train operators from increasing fares beyond strict limits and to rule out the proposed introduction of a new category of super peak ticket which would increase the burden on hard-pressed commuters.

A spokesperson for the group said, “Runaway train fares are out of control. We want people to help us end the era of inflation-busting fares rises.

“Our over-priced rail fares have been hiked again. Ten years in a row we have had above inflation fares rises forced on us. Our trains are already the most expensive in Europe. Average train fares have increased almost three times faster than wages, with prices now 26 per cent higher than they were before the recession. Yet passengers continue to be stuck in overcrowded, unreliable trains, with fewer staff on trains and at stations.”

The group is hoping people will tweet messages using the hashtag #FareFail and tell them how much they are paying for their season tickets and rail fares.