5 January 2015
THE Green Party today announced plans (1) for an average 10% cut in rail and bus fares, which will be included in its general election manifesto, paid for by increasing public investment in fares by £1.8 billion a year.
The £9 billion investment over the course of the next parliament would be met by scrapping most of the Government’s £15 billion new road building programme.
The announcement came on the day when local Green parties up and down the country joined RMT, Action for Rail, Compass and People’s Assembly protests against the failed privatised rail system. They backed Green MP Caroline Lucas’s Railways Bill that would bring services back into public hands, to allow them to be run for the benefit of passengers, not shareholders.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, who this morning joined protesters at King’s Cross station, said:
"Today as many workers return after the seasonal holiday, they're encountering an all-too-familiar pain: the damage done to household budgets in our low-wage economy by the latest jump in rail fares that are already the most expensive in Europe.
"That’s why I'm pleased to announce that included in the Green Party's 2015 general election manifesto will be funding to allow a 10% cut in the cost of public transport for passengers, giving the travelling public a much-needed financial break.
"The privatisation of the railways has been a huge disservice to passengers - driving up prices while creating a race to the bottom in service provision. It's left us with a rail network that is fragmented, costly, understaffed, and under-invested - and the public are shouldering the financial burden.
"The Green Party believes that public services should be run in the interests of those that use them, not the minority who happen to own them. That's why I was at King's Cross station this morning, joining Green Party members and others calling for an end to this failed privatisation project, and an end to the endless fare rises.
"This investment of £1.8 billion would offer an enormous help to Britons to as they travel between communities, to work, to meet up with friends and relatives, and would help us relieve the national reliance on carbon-intensive forms of transport.
"The £9 billion investment would be paid for by scrapping most of this government's indefensible £15 billion road-building programme, leaving £6 billion for further transport programmes."