Protest at increase in rail fares

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SHEFFIELD railway station hosted one of several protests around the country against continued above-inflation fare rises.

A hike of 4.2 per cent has come into force, hitting thousands of commuters who use the station each day, which is one per cent above inflation.

The increase is due to Government policy to reduce the £4 billion annual public subsidy paid to the railways.

However, trade unions and other protesters say money could be saved by bringing the railways back under public ownership, avoiding the huge fare rises.

The ‘Stop the Rail Fares Rip Off’ protest was held yesterday in Sheffield, cities ranging from London to York and Bristol, plus smaller stations including Matlock, in the Derbyshire Dales constituency of Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Leaflets were being handed out asking passengers to complain about fare rises to @transportgovuk using hashtags #farefail #railfail, or contact their MP.

Rob Jenks, from Together for Transport, an umbrella group for the protesters, said: “Once again, the start of the New Year brings into reality the annual misery of hiked rail fares as so many people begin the return to work.

“At a time of a shaky economy and low or non-existent pay rises, many people are struggling to meet the demands of increased living costs.

“The last thing passengers want is increases that only enhance private sector profits and allow the government to cut subsidy.”