‘Passengers still being mugged’

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‘PASSENGERS are still getting mugged,’ Manuel Cortez, leader of the TSSA railworkers union said yesterday after Transport Secretary McLoughlin announced that he was capping next January’s fare increases at 6.1%.

Cortes commented angrily: ‘This late-running fares review is a slap across the face for millions of passengers who have seen their fares go through the roof under our privately run railway.

‘Despite seeing walk-on fares rise by over 200% since privatisation, there is no action whatsoever to actually end inflation-plus fare increases.

‘All Patrick McLoughlin is offering is to limit them to twice the rate of inflation rather than three times the rate of inflation which has left us with the highest fares in Europe.

‘He is merely offering to hold passengers’ coats while they keep getting mugged every year by the same set of spivs – the private rail firms.’

Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT, said: ‘This is a total con that will still leave the vast majority paying inflation-busting fares to pump up the profits of the private train operators.

‘For a few it will feel like having your wallet nicked with the mugger then handing you a few bob back to buy a pint. Nobody will be fooled by this political stunt.’

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: ‘Passengers are fed up with the poor value they are being offered by Britain’s privatised train companies and they want the government to do something about it.

‘Every year the train companies put up their prices, always way above inflation, when most people’s wages are falling.

‘That’s why more and more people are falling into transport poverty, because the train companies are ripping off the taxpayer, and ripping off their passengers, and putting nothing back.

‘The truth is that privatisation of the railways has failed in this country. It has led to much higher fares, much more overcrowded trains, and much older rolling stock.

‘Independent surveys show that the vast majority of passengers believe the fares they are being charged by the privatised train companies offer very poor value for money.

‘They complain about above-inflation price rises, overcrowded trains, and a feeling that the train companies are just out to fleece us.’