The Liberal Democrats are calling for the annual increase in rail fares to be cancelled, a move which would save commuters in Horsham around £68.74 next year, according to the Party's analysis.
The call follows the announcement of July’s Retail Price Index - the figure normally used to calculate the increase in fares at the end of the year - showing inflation at 1.6%.
The Liberal Democrats argue that any increase in ticket prices will be a “slap in the face” for consumers when the Government should be trying to get people back on to sustainable forms of transport and investing to improve these vital services.
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Morwen Millson, says:
“At a time when so many families are already stretched due to COVID-19, the Conservatives seem happy for commuters in Horsham to face yet another hike in the price of their season tickets.
“A freeze on fares would save commuters in Horsham £68.78 next year and potentially hundreds if the fare freeze was locked in until the next election.
“Horsham Lib Dems are calling on the Government to keep costs down for commuters and to bring in new types of season ticket to suit more flexible working patterns. Many companies and their staff are looking for staff to work in the office for just two or three days a week. Current season tickets give no discounts for regular but not daily travel, which seems very unfair.
“I would like to see the Government actually cutting fares to encourage commuters back on to the trains, but a freeze on fare increases would be a good start.”
Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:
“Any plans to go ahead with a fare increase this year will be a slap in the face for consumers.
“Our railways are vital in the fight to tackle the climate emergency and cut air pollution. Rather than putting off commuters with yet another price hike, the Government must help the industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
“Liberal Democrats are calling for a freeze on fares until the next election, as well as for the Government to publish and implement the Rail Review and invest to increase capacity.”
The savings referenced above are based on figures for an annual season ticket from Horsham to London Bridge. This is currently £4296 and is predicted to rise to £4364.74 in January without Government intervention.
Liberal Democrats are calling for a freeze on “regulated fares” - these are the ticket prices regulated by the government and cover most commuter fares and season tickets. Roughly 34% of fares are “regulated fares.”