Hello and welcome to the first of my monthly columns. First a quick introduction: I’m Peter Skinner, Member of the European Parliament for the South East of England and I (along with other MEPs) represent you in the European Parliament.
You can learn more on my website (www.peterskinnermep.eu) and you can follow me on Twitter (@PWSkinnerMEP) and Facebook (Peter Skinner MEP).
I’ll use this column to discuss issues large and small: from ‘what is the EU doing to tackle the financial crisis?’ to ‘fixing that damn pothole’. I’m always speaking to people on the doorstep and I know that the stories leading the headlines and grabbing the front pages aren’t always the ones being talked about on the street or at the proverbial water cooler.
That’s why I want to start by talking about something I know is on the minds of the many commuters in our region: the massive train fare price hike. Regulated fares were capped at 1% above inflation but the Conservative-led Government changed all that and in January prices are set to leap by an average of 8%.
Transport already takes a big chunk out of people’s wages and at a time when the cost of living is rising this is the last thing commuters and businesses need. The Campaign for Better Transport has done some work calculating what fares could cost in the future. In short: a lot. Indeed by 2015 the cost of a season ticket to London could be eye watering:
These inflation busting fare rises are squeezing commuters and should be rethought. The price hikes are the direct consequence of the Tory-led government’s decision to cut too far and too fast. Passengers are having to pay more to plug the gap in the transport budget.
I have asked Ministers to meet with me and regional representatives to discuss the impacts of their price hikes. With train fares set to rise four times faster than wages in the next year, I want them to think again and give commuters a break.
If you want to see how much your season ticket could cost by 2015 use the link below and use the CTRL+F function to search.