The planned increase in rail fares has been described as “another kick in the teeth” for Greater Manchester users by Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor of the region.
It has been confirmed that fares will rise by 2.8% in January 2020, which follows an increase of 3.1% placed on passengers at the beginning of this year.
The increase, based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for July, is something that Bev Hughes feels is difficult to justify given the issues that passengers and other business users have had to deal with over the past year.
In May 2018, the timetable changes resulted in chaos, with many services delayed or even cancelled; the emergency timetable put in place didn’t arrest the problem, and when the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) investigated the situation, it was revealed that the needs of passengers weren’t prioritised – something that rail operators were told must change.
The Greater Manchester region was one of those areas severely hit by the summer timetable changes of 2018; it has led to a 10-year plan – launched by Andy Burnham; Our Network sets out the plans to create an integrated, modern and accessible public transport system in the city region.
The delays and cancellations will have undoubtedly affected businesses – those already based in the region whose staff would have found it extremely difficult to get to work; it’s not a stretch to say that confidence of businesses thinking of moving to the region will have had second thoughts because of the chaos.
And now, further increases are coming; Bev Hughes has called for the North to be given more control of its own railways.
She said: “This is another kick in the teeth for Greater Manchester’s long-suffering rail commuters.
“After another year of delays, cancellations and overcrowded trains, the travelling public will find it hard to understand how another fare increase can possibly be justified.
“Greater Manchester is calling on the government to give us more control of our railways so we can deliver a better service that puts people first and that is integrated with the rest of our public transport.”