The announcement that rail fares will rise again in January 2016 means that passengers in Copeland could be hit by a cost increase of 25% since 2010.
The new fare rises will come into effect on January 2nd2016. Figures released today show that the cost of an annual season ticket from Whitehaven to Sellafield has risen by from £528 to £656 since 2010 and is expected to rise to £663 in January 2016. Meanwhile a season ticket from Millom to Sellafield is set to rise from £848 in 2010 to £1,034 in 2016, a rise of 22%.
Earlier this year, David Cameron said that higher rail fares were necessary to fund improvement projects, which were promised in the Conservative manifesto. Key rail investment projects were then put on hold just weeks after the general election and the Government had no plans to invest in transport infrastructure in Cumbria.
In a recent response to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Mr Reed, the Government have also admitted that Government expenditure on railways in the North West has fallen from £97 per head of population in 2009/10 to just £85 in 2013/14. This is a decline of over 12% and the North West now receives £14 per head less than the UK average of £99.
Rail Minister, Claire Perry, was criticised last year after she said that passengers should “start to realise that they are paying fair fares for comfortable commuting.”
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:
“The Government must deliver better value for money, give passengers a real voice and invest in transport infrastructure in Copeland.
“Passengers in Copeland are paying more and more each year to travel on increasingly overcrowded and unreliable trains. The cost of rail fares has risen much faster than wages and the Government are failing to deliver much needed infrastructure investment projects.
“This Government is consistently failing to put passengers first. The latest announcement on fare rises means that the cost of season tickets in Copeland will have risen by 25% on their watch, putting real pressure on household budgets.
“This comes at a time when Government expenditure per head in the North West has fallen by over 12%. This is unacceptable and passengers in Copeland deserve better.”