Rail passengers urged to protest over fares

Rail passengers were urged today to take action in the fight for fairer train fares.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), angered at the 5.8% average new year fare rises that mainline season ticket holders are now paying, asked passengers to sign petitions, write to the Government and take part in protests.

Supported by Monty Python star Michael Palin, the CBT campaign started today at Charing Cross station in London.

CBT supporters donned David Cameron and Nick Clegg facemasks, while one campaigner sported a mask of Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.

CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph said: "Commuters feel like they are being pick-pocketed by the Government, expected to pay more year on year for the same poor quality service.

"Even with the promised extra investment, many passengers will see no actual improvement to their daily commute.

"Politicians need to start living in the real world and understand that people simply cannot afford to pay a fifth of their income just to do a day's work.

"The Government pledged to create fair fares and we all expect them to keep that promise."

In a message of support today, Palin said: "Rail fare rises are holding travellers to ransom and increasing the likelihood that people will have to take to our already-overcrowded roads.

"Regular price hikes are no way for the Government and train companies to reward their regular customers.

"Instead of milking them, they should be thanking them for their loyalty with a better, simpler, more competitive fare structure."

Passengers arriving at Charing Cross today spoke angrily about the fare hikes.

Jason Homewood, 39, an accountant, travels from Maidstone in Kent into London on services run by the Southeastern train company and already pays around £3,400 for his season ticket which he will have to renew at a much higher level in May.

At Charing Cross today, he said: "On Southeastern we pay more due to the high-speed Javelin trains. But I don't use them and the service levels in my area have got worse.

"I'm paying more for services that don't actually benefit me. The service of late has been diabolical."

Water treatment engineer Colin Nash, 50, travels from Gravesend in Kent into London. He said today: "I don't think these fare rises are justified. I'm paying enough as it is."

Mr Nash's work colleague, Sam Smith, 34, from Caterham in Surrey, said: "These increases are well above inflation. They're not right."

But Rebecca Grey, 36, an advertising director from Surbiton in Surrey, said: "I get a really good rail service. I'm quite happy with it."

To add to the gloom for passengers, late-running engineering work meant services in and out of London's Liverpool Street station were delayed in the early part of the morning rush-hour today.

Also, the Northern train company had to lay on buses to replace trains between Darlington and Middlesbrough following a signalling problem.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union, said:

"RMT is fully behind the campaign to stop the rail fares rip-off that will drive people away from public transport.

"We are also calling for a freeze to the outrageous dividends paid over by the train operators to their shareholders at the expense of the quality of service.

"The jacking-up of rail fares by up to 13% as passengers return to work today is a kick in the teeth for travellers that will leave the train operating companies laughing all the way to the bank.

"The argument that this extra cash will be invested back into the railways is a sick joke. Commuters stumping up an extra 13% to travel up from Kent on Southeastern will receive exactly the same bare-bones service, in exactly the same carriages with exactly the same disregard for quality in the pursuit of profit.

"Rather than being reinvested into services, the massive increase in rail fares will simply pump up the £2 billion already ripped off from the railways by privatisation and add extra cash to the ConDem coffers through the back door in an outrageous stealth tax on passengers, while crucial rail investment remains light years away."

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone