Thursday, January 22, 2009

Letter sent to local papers on rail fares

Dear Editor,

No doubt, like many of your readers I am incensed that at a time when we are all having to tighten our purse-strings, the cost of catching a train to work has shot up. The annual inflation-busting fare increase is sadly inevitable so long as the railways remain in the hands of private companies; and they will remain in the hands of private companies because the main three parties rule out the alternative approach which is to nationalise the railways.

In fact the ‘rail fares’ issue is another example of how the actions of those in power have a cost that nearly all of us have to bare – but they themselves are unaffected by because they enjoy 1st class rail travel as part of their expenses.

The cost of rail fares rose by 17 per cent from 1997-2007. However, motoring costs declined by 8 per cent in real terms in the same period and now that petrol prices have dropped, more and more people will take the car to get around. As a result this leads to more congestion, frustration and pollution. Government air pollution policy is already so bad that the European Environment Commissioner is taking the UK Government to the European Court of Justice to make it comply with air pollution legislation.

Commuters are conscious of the impact that transport has on the environment. They want an alternative to flying or taking the car. I was shocked to read that two out of the top six destinations from Heathrow airport are Manchester and Paris. Both could be serviced with a speedy, reliable and affordable rail link.

It is clear to me that train travel in the hands of profiteering private companies is nonsense – it is high time we had some common sense with the renationalisation of the railways.

Yours sincerely,

Shasha Khan

Croydon Green Party
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