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RAIL UNIONS CALL FOR RENATIONALISATION OF SERVICES FOLLOWING BIGGEST FARES HIKE IN FIVE YEARS

The prospect of higher fares sparked an angry reaction and led to increasing calls for the railway industry to be renationalised.

Rail unions stepped up their calls for the railway industry to be bought back into public ownership, with Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union leader Mick Cash calling it a “kick in the teeth” for passengers.

He said: “The huge hike in fares confirmed today is another kick in the teeth for passengers who already fork out colossal sums to travel on rammed out, unreliable trains while the private operators are laughing all the way to the bank.

“With over three quarters of Britain’s railways now in the hands of foreign states these huge sums of money aren’t being invested in essential upgrades and modernisation here, they are being siphoned off to subsidise transport services over the Channel.

“It’s no wonder we are a global laughing stock.

“The only solution to the Great British Private Rail Rip-Off is public ownership and an end to this Government sponsored racketeering.”

Research by the RMT and the TUC has shown rail fares have been increasing at twice the rate of pay rises in recent years.

David Sidebottom, director of Transport Focus, the independent transport user watchdog, said: “Yet again, passengers, now majority funders of the railway, face fare rises next January.

“Commuters do not give value for money on their railways a high satisfaction score – just one third according to our latest survey.

“So while performance remains patchy and with pay and wages not keeping pace with inflation, they will feel rightly aggrieved if they are paying much higher rises next January.