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Temporary rail fare cuts should be made permanent, rail workers demand

RAIL workers called today for a temporary cut in rail fares to be made permanent after years of price hikes that boosted the profits of privateer operators.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that fare reductions would begin today, with passengers eligible to travel for less on off-peak fares between April 25 and May 27.

He said that the ending of Covid-19 restrictions meant that passengers should be encouraged to return to rail.

Some Manchester to Newcastle journeys drop to a little over £10, while seats on some London to Edinburgh services will be slashed from £44 to £22.

But rail union TSSA said that “pricing people off our cleanest forms of public transport is a national scandal,” and warned that the temporary reductions in fares would be merely a gimmick if the reductions were not made permanent.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Making train travel more affordable is welcome, but these discounts will only help our rail industry if they are made permanent.

“We need a step change in attitudes to travel, and this should be a wake-up call for those running our railways.

“We have the most expensive train fares in Europe, and despite petrol prices soaring at the pumps, car travel still remains cheaper for many than rail.

“Government and the rail industry should be doing everything possible to incentivise rail travel and make it the go-to option for both commuting and leisure travel.” 

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “A decade of brutal Tory fare hikes have priced people off our railways.

“This temporary respite will be small comfort to passengers who had thousands taken out of their pockets from soaring fares since 2010.”

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