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Another betrayal of local rail users, as inflation-busting fare rise comes into force

March 1, 2021 3:30 PM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

Intercity and Commuter Trains at Bedford StationCommuter rail fares rise today by an inflation-busting 2.6%, thanks to the government's decision to break its own formula to increase them by even more than expected. The move is 'yet another betrayal of local rail users', say Bedford Borough Borough Liberal Democrats.

Commenting at the time of the announcement of the inflation-busting rise, Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat Environment Committee Spokesperson Councillor Tim Hill said: "This news is a kick in the teeth for all rail users and it is particularly unjustifiable for local commuters, who have suffered so much in recent years. Following on from the prolonged chaos over new Thameslink timetables alongside the ongoing loss of intercity peak time trains and much more, an inflation-busting fare rise is yet another betrayal suffered by Bedford Borough rail users."

Councillor Hill added "Looking ahead, the decision is even more indefensible for our area. The Government is removing Bedford from its historic place on the intercity rail network and scrapping our fastest trains to London and direct links to the north. When we emerge from the pandemic people should be encouraged to choose rail travel, not punished with excessive fare rises. Yet again the government is acting both unfairly and illogically and local rail users are paying the price."

The rail betrayal suffered by Bedford Borough rail users includes:

  • The complete failure of new Thameslink timetables in 2018, which caused a prolonged period of chaos
  • The ongoing loss of intercity peak time trains to and from London
  • Several years of rail replacement buses from and to stations to the north of Bedford at peak times
  • The government's decision to remove Bedford from its historic place on the intercity rail map, with slower commuter-style trains to London and no direct links to the north under changes which will occur under the new East Midlands Rail franchise

You can add your name in opposition to the loss of intercity services from Bedford Borough via the Great Bedford Rail Betrayal petition at www.bedfordlibdems.org.uk/Rail

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have called for the government's power to set rail fares to be scrapped. Lib Dem spokesperson for transport Sarah Olney has called today's fare rise a "grossly unfair hike" and called for "an independent agency with real teeth to give a fair deal to passengers".