Off-peak rail fare increases ‘unfair’ to Greenfield commuters

I have written to the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, demanding a full explanation about why Greenfield station commuters will be hit by the abolition of evening off-peak fares from 8th September between 16.01 and 18.29.

I criticised the government last week because they admitted that the 30 year old Pacer trains running along northern railway lines may now be ‘modernised’ instead of being replaced. One of the conditions of the extension of the franchise set out by the Department of Transport is that Northern Rail must raise revenue. This will affect anyone who commute to work via Greenfield Station.

Given the current cost of living crisis, with price increases outstripping wages by a considerable margin, this decision is simply unfair and penalises Oldham residents by using them as a revenue raiser.

In addition, we’ve seen a pitifully low level of investment in the rail system across the north, so I share constituents’ concerns that this extra revenue will end up in the pockets of shareholders, rather than being ploughed into improvements in local rail services.

Once again, I am left deeply concerned about how the Department for Transport is treating the North of England and my constituents, with the recent news that Pacer carriages will not be replaced; Greenfield will not have full disabled access installed when electrification is finished; and now the abolition of off-peak fares.

The Government’s rhetoric about improving connectivity across the north, and creating a world-class rail network, is not matched by their actions.

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