Express train at Brighton main station
Green councillors, Caroline Lucas MP and Green activists joined commuters and transport campaigners at city’s three largest stations in protest at rail fare rises on Friday morning 2 September.
Protests were held simultaneously at peak commuter travel time at the three busiest city main line stations: Brighton central station, Preston Park station and Hove.
The Green Party is backing the Fair Fares campaign which is supported by a coalition of rail passenger groups, rail unions and transport campaigners.
The rallies involved petitioning and placard waving in protest at the Coalition Government’s recent announcement to allow rail fares to rise on average by 8% over the next year and 28% over the next four years.
Green Party activist Lianna Etkind, who commutes to London daily, said, “This will mean a season ticket increase of between £200-300 from Brighton to London in the coming year and an enormous amount over the next four years.
“We need to make it clear this is an attack on everyone who uses or works in the railways.
“Green Party councillors and transport campaigners will be making the case that these rail hikes are unenvironmental, will damage our city’s economy, cause financial and employment worries and boost polluting road traffic as people are literally priced off the trains.
“These outrageous rises will hit people’s pockets at a time of reductions in real pay and with oil prices coming down, people will be persuaded to go back to cars again.”
Lianna added, “The Greens including Brighton Green MP Caroline Lucas are fully backing the Fair Fares campaign and the work of the unions in defending the railways.
“We’re astonished that Norman Baker LibDem MP for Lewes [who has campaigned on environmental issues] should be acquiescing with this policy as a junior transport minister. ”
Brighton Green MP Caroline Lucas showed her support at the central brighton station rally. She said, “These fare increases are the latest in a series of unfair and unnecessary price hikes to hit Brighton’s train passengers.
“We already pay some of the highest fares in Europe, and under successive governments, we’ve seen public transport fares increase while services have failed to improve.
“For many, travelling by train has already become an expensive luxury.
“The Government must urgently recognise that the relentless price hikes are having a serious effect on people’s quality of life, and focus investment now to deliver affordable train travel for all.”
1) Campaign for Better Transport launched the national Fair Fares Now campaign to call for cheaper, simpler, fairer rail ticketing.
The Brighton rally follows a month of action which saw protests taking place at over 40 rail stations across the country.
For more information or to sign the petition visit www.fairfaresnow.org.uk/petition
For more information please contact Brighton and hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.