Labour have pledged immediate cuts to rail fares of 33% in a move that could save millions of commuters more than £1000 a year, and announced free rail travel for under 16's.
Following news over the weekend that rail fares are set to rise yet again by an average of 2.7% next year, it will be announced that a Labour government will make the biggest ever cut in ticket prices, to be implemented within weeks of them taking power.
The groundbreaking plan for an integrated railway under public ownership will:
Cut regulated rail fares by 33% from January 2020, saving the average commuter £1097 a year
Guarantee fair fares for part-time workers
Deliver a simple, London-style ticketing system across the nation
Make rail travel free for those 16 years old and under
Most commuter fares, including peak time fares and season tickets, are regulated fares, which make up almost half of all tickets sold, and prices of these will be reduced by 33%, the biggest ever reduction in rail fares, to tackle the crisis of unaffordability on the railways and give relief to millions of rail commuters from years of excessive price rises.
Since the Tories came into government in 2010, rail fares have risen at more than twice the rate of wages, leaving travellers paying constantly increasing prices for a 'lucky dip' of average to substandard services which are unreliable and inefficient following years of Conservative mismanagement of the transport system.
The privatised rail network has created an expensive, bafflingly complex range of a staggering 55 million different fares. Labour believe this policy will enable them to set rail fares that are simple, fair, affordable and transparent.
As well as full-time commuters, the policy will also guarantee fair fares for part time workers, by ensuring that workers who commute fewer than 5 days a week will pay no more per journey than full-time workers who use weekly season tickets – meaning part-time workers will see their fares cut by more than a third.
The plans will also deliver wholesale reform of fares and ticketing, replacing the current system with a simple, London-style ticketing system across the nation, delivering contactless payments and creating zonal rail fares that will apply across all modes of public transport.
Rail travel will be made free for those age 16 years old and younger, to encourage young people to use public transport, tackle generational inequality and make family holidays more affordable.
Labour’s publicly-owned rail system will deliver easy and affordable access to sustainable public transport to boost economic growth and reduce road traffic to tackle congestion, air pollution and climate emissions.
The policy will initially apply only in England, as decisions on whether to fund rail fare reductions in Scotland and Wales are a matter for the devolved governments, but leaves the way clear for Scotland and Wales to follow suit if they wish.
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"
Andy McDonald, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary, 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 12th December. Labour will deliver a railway in public ownership for the many, not the few”
The policy will cost around £1.5 billion per year, and will be funded from existing Department of Transport budgets, drawn from Vehicle Excise Duty