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Labour to save rail commuters £1,000 a year

LABOUR in government will save commuters over £1,000 every year in the “biggest-ever rail fares cut” in history.

Under radical plans announced by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today, the party would drop train ticket prices by 33 per cent from January 2020 as part of its moves towards making a fully integrated public railway system.

Labour would also guarantee an option of discounted rail fares for part-time workers and make rail travel free for everyone under 16.

The Rail Delivery Group admits that the current privatised system contains 55 million different fares.

Labour would make efforts to simplify and regulate ticketing systems across the country.

A “London-style” system would be implemented, to include contactless payment on train journeys and the establishment of zonal fares that could be used to regulate costs on all modes of transport in a region.

Labour estimates that the proposals would save the average commuter £1,097 every year and would bring an end to what a party spokesperson described as the “crisis of affordability” on Britain’s railways.

The news comes as fares are set to rise again in January 2020 by an average of 2.7 per cent.

If rail companies go ahead with the proposed rise, rail fares will be 40 per cent more expensive than they were in 2010 and will have risen at more than twice the rate of the average wage.

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “Privatisation has created one of the most complex, exploitative and expensive ticketing systems in the world.

“Labour will scrap the bewildering and outdated fares and ticketing system that discriminates against part-time workers, discourages rail travel and excludes the young and low-paid.

“Labour is on the side of passengers, which is why we will introduce a simpler, fairer and more affordable system for all — integrated with other forms of public transport. 

“Rail passengers who want to save hundreds or thousands of pounds next year need to vote Labour on December 12.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Travelling by train is my favourite way of getting around the country, but for too long a fragmented and privatised rail system has ripped off passengers.

“Taking back control of our railways is the only way to bring down fares and create a railway network that is fit for the future.

“Labour will bring about real change on the railways because we are on the side of passengers.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash welcomed the news, telling the Morning Star: “A third off fares in the new year and making travel free for under-16s will not only save passengers thousands of pounds, it will transform travel for the future — increasing rail passenger numbers and rail jobs to help fight the climate crisis.

“This is public rail ownership that delivers real change to benefit everyone.”

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