“The new rail fare increases are grossly unfair and a tax on Essex rail users” says the Chairman of Essex Rail Users Federation, Derek Monnery.
The Rail Minister, Theresa Villiers, said on Breakfast television this morning that a 3% surcharge on fares was to be charged in January 2013 to pay for rail improvements. However, Essex is not the beneficiary of any of the planned rail investment with all of it being spent elsewhere. So the 3% rise is effectively a tax on rail fares.
Even this might be tolerable if the rail service was good. Rail passengers have persistently scored local train operators near the bottom of the national poll for rail satisfaction. This is due to the scruffy condition of much of the rolling stock and repeated infrastructure failures causing train delays.
Derek Monnery concluded “Without serious investment in the Essex rail network a 3% surcharge on our fares is quite unjustifiable. We are already starting to receive angry feedback from Essex rail users.”