Posts Tagged ‘Campaign for Better Transport’

Commuters clobbered by train fare increase

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Workers travelling back to their jobs tomorrow will be faced with a rise in the price of their tickets as the government pushes fares up by an average of six per cent. The hike has been condemned by consumer groups. Maria Eagle, shadow transport secretary, said train companies were only interested in turning a profit, not improving the services they are providing.

She added that the surprise is not likely to be very welcome and that the rise comes as many families continue to battle with the high cost of living. Theresa Villiers, the rail minister, said the price rise had already been limited to help passengers. She pointed out that the government was still trying to sort out Labour’s deficit.

The Association of Train Operating Companies has also defended the increase in costs being placed on travellers by saying that the revenue will be used to dramatically improve services. However, Passenger Focus has slammed the hike, pointing out that on some routes the cost of a season ticket has gone up by 11 per cent.

Anthony Smith, the watchdog’s chief executive, said that it was unfair for commuters to continue to foot the bill for a fractured industry. Mr Smith also condemned a rise in parking fees, but was complimentary about some operator’s scheme to allow travellers to spread the cost of annual tickets.

Campaign for Better Transport has also slammed the fare rise and called upon travellers to make their displeasure known to the Treasury on Tuesday by calling in, texting or tweeting.

January train fare hike announced

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

The Association of Train operating companies has announced a controversial hike in the price of train fares for January. The average ticket price is set to rise by 5.9 per cent. However, the figure hides the fact that on some journeys, ticket prices will rocket by more than nine per cent.

An analysis of the ATOC figures shows that a London to Nuneaton saver return will cost 9.2 per cent more than it does now; and a London to Plymouth off-peak return is set to increase in price by 9.4 per cent. In some cities in the south-east, commuters will have to spend more than £4,000 for a season ticket.

Passenger Focus has accused ATOC of confusing travellers about just how much more expensive their tickets will be in January. Chief executive, Anthony Smith said a lack of transparency meant that commuters will have to dig through the information to find out just how out of pocket they will be.

Maria Eagle, Labour’s transport spokesperson, said the government was letting train users down by allowing operators to hike prices above the six per cent which has been announced.

Sophie Allen from Campaign for Better Transport said that the new prices were eye watering. She explained that train travel in the UK was already the most expensive in Europe, and that the fare hike would damage the economy at a time when it needs all the help it can get. The RMT said the only winners were the train companies.

Ministers call for action over fuel prices

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

A debate by MPs over the price of fuel will involve a number of ministers asking that the government works harder to make sure that costs are kept under control amid public outcry. An e-petition demanding that the price at the pumps is cut has been signed by around 100,000 people.

George Osborne has already scrapped the fuel tax escalator, and in March reduced the duty on fuel by 1p. However, ministers want guarantees that future planned tax hikes on fuel are reassessed. They are also calling for guarantees that when oil prices fall, any savings are passed back to motorists.

Tory MP Robert Halfon explained that current fuel prices were damaging small and medium businesses, and also meant that some people were handing over around 10 per cent of their pay packet in order to continue driving. He is asking fellow ministers to discuss how fuel tax rates are affecting economic growth and the country’s level of unemployment.

The Treasury has said that at times when the cost of fuel is high there will be a cap, meaning that they cannot rise higher than the price of inflation. At these times, the oil companies will be responsible of paying for any short falls through taxation.

Campaign for Better Transport spokesman, Richard Hebditch, said one of the main problems was that Britons remained too reliant on their cars, and that more investment was needed in making that public transport systems better. He added that it was economically dangerous to still be so reliant on foreign oil supplies.

Increase in motorway speed limit to be considered

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The government is to look at proposals by the Department for Transport to raise the legal speed limit on motorways in England and Wales to 80mph. According to Philip Hammond, secretary for transport, the 70mph restrictions which were introduced in 1965 have become outdated. He said that advances in technology and safety meant that the number of people killed on the roads in Britain had been reduced by 75 per cent since the 70mph limit was first introduced.

According the DfT, the speed limit should also be reviewed in light of the fact that nearly half of all drivers admit to pushing past 70mph on the motorway. However, safety charity Brake has said it will not support any policy which could potentially endanger lives on the roads.

Mr Hammond said that he did not feel that increasing the speed limit would do this and that reports from other countries showed that pushing up the limit only meant a slight increase in drivers’ average speeds.

The plans have been criticised by the Campaign for Better Driving. Stephen Joseph, chief executive, said that drivers would not benefit from the increase. He explained that fuel bills would increase, more pollution would be pumped into the atmosphere, more congestion would be created and there would be a rise in the number of road casualties.

Brake’s senior campaigns officer, Ellen Booth, said it would be unethical to support Mr Hammond’s proposals and that the charity would oppose any speed limit increase. She explained that road deaths did not just involve the victim but their entire family.

Planning reforms could cause more traffic congestion

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Transport campaigners have hit out at proposed reforms to the UK’s planning laws saying that they will inevitably lead to the construction of more business parks in out of town locations. This in turn will lead to more congestion on the roads during rush-hour, the campaigners maintain. The planning system changes are part of the government’s intention to concentrate on more sustainable development and encourage large-scale projects.

However, the Campaign for Better Transport said a proliferation of business parks outside town centres could increase the length of tailbacks on roads at peak journey times.

To illustrate its point the campaign produced research which shows that an extra business park at each appropriate exit on the M1 would result in a 16 per cent increase in traffic. This is the same as an extra lane on the motorway and would result in journey delays doubling.

The government has dismissed the claims saying that the campaign is exaggerating the impact without understanding the reality of the proposed reforms. Department for Communities minister, Greg Clarke, has also dismissed claims by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the National Trust that the reforms will result in Greenbelt land being handed over to the developers.

He added that those who were trying to stop development were being selfish as they were preventing the younger generation from starting on the housing ladder. However, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, Stephen Joseph, said there was no proof that the new planning strategy would do anything to encourage economic growth.