Protesters vent train fares anger

By Laura Payne Thursday 13 December 2012 Updated: 13/12 09:58

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Buy photos » People gathered outside Solihull Station to protest against rising ticket prices. (s)

DISGRUNTLED rail passengers gathered outside Solihull Station to protest against the hike in train fares.

They joined forces with rail unions and transport campaigners as part of protests at stations across the region.

The TUC's Action for Rail campaign say average train fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages since the recession began.

Between 2008 and 2012 average rail fares increased by 26.6 per cent, with average wages rising by just 9.6 per cent over the same period – well below the rate of inflation.

And the price is set to increase again in the new year as the Association of Train Operating Companies last week announced an average 3.9 per cent increase in prices from January.

Campaigners at Solihull Station handed out Christmas cards which the TUC said reminded passengers that as well as fare rises in the new year, they can look also forward to a 2013 packed full of cancelled trains, staff cuts and ticket office closures – all at a time when the train companies are making huge profits.

Frances O'Grady, chair of Action for Rail and TUC General Secretary Designate, said: "Train fares have massively outstripped wages and inflation, even during the recession.

"Train operating companies seem to have completely ignored the fact that real-term incomes and living standards have fallen and have ploughed ahead with eye-watering price-hikes.

"The protests should act as an urgent wake-up call to ministers.

"Our current privatised system, which is costing taxpayers a staggering £1.2billion a year, may be a wonderful Christmas present for train companies but is a huge squeeze on the public purse and commuters."

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