Labour Party conference: New deal for rail passengers promised


Rail passengers will be put before profit under a Labour government to “end the racket on our railways”, shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has said.

Ms Eagle highlighted a range of proposals to stop customers feeling like the system is "always trying to rip you off" and said Labour would introduce a "new deal for passengers".

Among the changes Labour would bring in is a drive to end the confusion around peak and off-peak tickets, changing the law to make sure passengers are offered the cheapest ticket no matter where or how the buy it, and ending the inflexibility on advance tickets which means passengers cannot get the following train even if it is empty.

Ms Eagle called on train companies to voluntarily cap fare increases in January, or Labour would do it.

She told the Labour Party conference in Brighton: "Let me say this to the train companies - you make hundreds of millions a year, in a system that pays out more in subsidies than you pay back for taxpayers.

"So when fares go up again in January, do the right thing - voluntarily cap fare rises, since ministers won't. Do your bit to ease the cost of living crisis.

"But if you choose not to act, then a One Nation Labour government will."

The shadow transport secretary said it was time to put passengers before profit.

Ms Eagle said: "It isn't just the level of fares that drives people to distraction. It's the feeling that the system is always trying to rip you off. You buy an off-peak ticket. But nowhere does it tell you when off-peak actually starts. And every train company seems to use a different set of rules.

"So yes we need to cap fare rises but we need a new deal for passengers too."

She added: "Isn't it time to end the racket on our railways, and once again put passengers before profit?"