Further protests held in Sheffield against rail fares rise

Campaigners gathered at Sheffield's Dore and Totley railway station as part of a day of protests against an avaerage 3.1 per cent rise in rail fares.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 03 January, 2019, 07:19

Activitists handed out leaflets and spoke to passengers who faced the rise despite a year of chaos on the railways and punctuality being at a 13-year low.

Sheffield Council's deputy leader Coun Olivia Blake said commuters use the station to travel to and from Manchester.

Campaigners at Dore and Totley railway station on Wednesday

She said: 'I've spoken to commuters from Dore and Totley who commute to Manchester every day. They're rightly fed up of fare increases with unfair outcomes.

"We've seen the lowest punctuality in 13 years, but fares are increasing above inflation."

One in seven trains were delayed by at least five minutes in the past 12 months as a series of major issues have plagued the railway.

Passengers were warned to face further disruption throughout January as members of the RMT union remain locked in a bitter dispute over the role of guards.

The 3.1 per cent average fare rise is the second highest since January 2013.

It means an annual season ticket from Sheffield to Leeds will now cost £2,620; to Manchester Piccadilly will cost £3,156 and from Sheffield to London will set commuters back a staggering £12,688.

Coun Blake, who has been selected as the Labour party candidate for the Sheffield Hallam constituency, added: 'Last year, Northern passengers faced the disastrous roll-out of the new timetable '“ and the threat to remove guards and make journeys less safe still remains, showing the contempt that private rail operators show for their passengers.

"Labour will bring railways back into public ownership and provide the investment needed to provide a world-class rail network in the North of England."

Around 80 campaigners gathered at Sheffield railway station as many season tickets rose by more than £100 due to the annual price hike yesterday.

Members of the Sheffield Heeley Labour party, Sheffield Trades Union Council and the Green Party all protested against the rise.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling marked the increase in fares by announcing that a new railcard to extend child fares to 16- and 17-year-olds will be available in time for the new academic year in September.

A railcard for 26- to 30-year-olds also went on sale on Wednesday.

Mr Grayling claimed the Government's '˜record investment' in the rail network will help passengers get the '˜frequent, affordable and reliable journeys they deserve'.

The Department for Transport has commissioned former British Airways chief executive Keith Williams to carry out a root and branch review of Britain's railway, including fares.