UK Politics

Green Party pledges average 10% cut in rail and bus fares

Money and train ticket Image copyright PA

The Green Party in England and Wales is proposing an average 10% cut in rail and bus fares.

The general election pledge would be paid for by a £1.8bn-a-year increase in public investment in fares.

The move - costed at £9bn over the lifetime of the next parliament - would be funded by scrapping the coalition's £15bn roads programme in England.

Season tickets rose by up to 2.5% on 2 January, while the overall average rise for all fares was 2.2%.

The government said the rises that came into effect in England and Wales were regrettable but necessary. It said fares were crucial to funding rail modernisation.

The Labour Party has said it would enforce a "strict cap on fares".

'Unprecedented fragmentation'

Under the Green Party's plans, national rail fares would be cut by 12% and London Underground fares by 10%. Meanwhile, fares for London and UK bus services would see a 7% reduction.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, who attended a protest against railway privatisation at London's King's Cross station on Monday, said the move would give the travelling public "a much-needed financial break".

She said: "This investment of £1.8bn 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."

Image copyright Press Association
Image caption Ms Bennett has criticised the "endless" rises in rail and bus fares, which she says are the most expensive in Europe

She added: "The £9bn investment would be paid for by scrapping most of this government's indefensible £15bn road-building programme, leaving £6bn for further transport programmes."

The party says this would not affect road repairs or safety improvements to the existing roads infrastructure.

The Greens are also calling for the renationalisation of the railways to secure "a cheaper and better service".

The party's only MP, and former leader, Caroline Lucas has introduced a bill which calls for Britain's rail franchises to be brought back into public ownership as their contracts expire.

It is currently awaiting its second reading - when its general principles will be debated by MPs - in the House of Commons

Ms Lucas has said the privatisation of rail services has led to "unprecedented fragmentation of the railway" which is not delivering the "best deal" for passengers.

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