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The News Line: News No fare rises – re-nationalise!
Bob Crow, RMT members and commuters rally at Waterloo Station yesterday to denounce double inflation rise in rail fares and call for re-nationalisation
RAIL fares are set to rise by a whacking 6.2% next January, about double the official rate of inflation, though some ticket price rises will be even higher.

The Coalition plans to hike rail fares by the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation for July – which was announced yesterday as standing at 3.2% – plus 3%, making 6.2%.

RMT members and transport and passenger groups took part in demonstrations against fare rises and job cuts outside stations all over Britain yesterday.

‘The only way we’ll have a decent railway service in Britain is to renationalise the whole lot,’ RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said at Waterloo station yesterday morning, to a rally of RMT members and commuters.

‘Privatisation has been an absolute disaster. Renationalise the entire lot. We make no bones about it, we want complete renationalisation.

‘Just as they are bringing in fare rises of inflation plus 3%, they are also deteriorating the service and planning to do away with 20,000 railway jobs.

‘There has been £24 billion taxpayer subsidy since privatisation, which the privateers have been using to make a dividend for their shareholders. British Rail was getting 75% less subsidy than this lot.

‘Under British Rail it was 60% government subsidy and 40% passenger subsidy. That has been reversed. Now it’s 60% passenger subsidy and 40% government.

‘If any of our members are made compulsorily redundant, or if there is any dilution in terms and conditions then we are committed to taking industrial action.’

Sam Walton explained why he, along with a dozen others from Campaign for Better Transport, was wearing a dinner suit. ‘We’re dressed like this because of the comment from former Transport Secretary Hammond when he said trains will soon be a rich man’s toy.

‘Millions of ordinary people use the train to get to work in order to survive. If this government gets away with raising fares like they plan to, then millionaires will be the only people that can afford it.’

Bernard Harrison, from Bring Back British Rail and a retired Natfhe union member, said: ‘The railways must be renationalised, with no compensation to the private companies. They must be run as a public service.’

Peter March, RMT National Executive, said: ‘We’re campaigning against the massive fare increases and staff cuts. Ticket office staff are facing wholesale sackings and stations are set to be left unmanned, leaving the public vulnerable to any eventuality.’

Stephen Aselford, from Transport for All disabled group, said: ‘The cuts in railway staff at stations will severely hit disabled people. We need to be able to get help from station staff.

‘I raised this and the question of high fares with the Mayor of London and he said to go and raise it with the minister of transport. In other words, it’s nothing to do with him, go away.’
 
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