From the Green Party of England & Wales:
GREEN Party leader Natalie Bennett has called for the renationalisation of the nation’s railways, as she backed a campaign to stop rocketing ticket prices forcing people to stay at home – or into cars.
Ms Bennett, who will be taking part in the national Love Trains – Hate High Fares demonstrations this Thursday (Feb 14), said that the Green Party was supporting the campaign to renationalise our railways.
She said: “Privatisation has been disastrous for the rail system. It has failed on every possible criteria.
“One of those is clearly high fares. I’m delighted to support this event, as the cost of tickets has increased shockingly. Prices have increased in many cases by more than three times the cost of living. It’s forcing travellers off the trains, and putting huge strain on household budgets also under pressure from rising food, energy and housing costs.”
Since our rail service was privatised in 1993, some rail journeys, including London to Manchester, the cost of which has risen by 208 per cent, London to Exeter (205 per cent) and London to Cardiff (196 per cent) have increased in price by a rate that dwarfs the increase in the overall cost of living, the Retail Price Index, which has gone up just 66 per cent over the same period.
Rail fares in England were famously the most expensive in Europe – in many cases ten times those elsewhere in the EU for journeys of the same distance – even before the Coalition allowed a further increase in January this year, and Ms Bennett called for an end to the failed privatisation experiment.
She said: “Renationalisation can help bring prices back down and help people get back on the trains. Private companies’ priority is profit, not services, and they are taking huge profits out of the rail system, at the expense of all of us who use them.
“Ticket prices are making it impossible for many to use the trains. It stops families and friends getting together and even stops people taking jobs because the cost of travel is so high.
“Environmentally, it’s vital, too. The Green Party wants to make in all areas of life the environmentally friendly choice the cheapest, simplest and most convenient option. We should work to ensure rail travel is always be cheaper than driving.”