Lancashire councillor calls for Government to freeze rail ticket prices for worst hit transport routes

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A Lancashire county councillor is calling for a freeze on rail fares on the worst performing routes in Lancashire – with Croston and Leyland residents ‘deserving of better’ than a price increase after last year’s rail woes.

Lancashire County Coun Kim Snape has slammed Northern for a 3.1 per cent increase in fares from the beginning of the New Year, in line with a nationally recommended increase across the UK's rail industry.

County Coun Kim Snape has slammed Northern for its 3.1 per cent increase in fares from January 1, in line with nationally recommended across the UK rail industry

County Coun Kim Snape has slammed Northern for its 3.1 per cent increase in fares from January 1, in line with nationally recommended across the UK rail industry

It means that the average season ticket holding commuter in the UK will now be paying £2,980 for their ticket, £786 more than in 2010.

Coun Snape has subsequently called on the Government – which caps fares in line with inflation – to freeze fares on the worst performing routes.

The prospective Parliamentary candidate for South Ribble said: “We have been out talking to residents at Croston and Leyland railway stations for Labour’s national campaign day about today’s rail fare increases.

“They are an absolute insult to local residents in our area who have had to endure a mass of chaos on our rail service.

Kim Snape

Kim Snape

“Rising fares and falling standards are a disgrace and this Government has the power to regulate the amount that train companies can raise their fares by but is choosing to stand by and not use those powers.”

Coun Snape added: “The Government must step in to freeze fares on the worst performing routes like those right here in our area. The residents of Croston and Rufford deserve better than this."

The call comes as one third of all trains on the Preston to Ormskirk route were cancelled in the last six-and-a-half months of 2018.

Only 3,701 trains of the 5,712 trains scheduled to run from Preston through Croston and on to Ormskirk actually ran, data analysed by the BBC revealed.

Rail tickets (PA)

Rail tickets (PA)

That meant one third of services were cancelled, making it possibly the most cancelled route in Northern’s troubled stable of services.

Last month residents of Croston, half way along the line, shared their plight as the village has no other public transport services leaving many people effectively stranded when trains do not show up.

In one week in November the village had no services at all because of what Northern described as problems with leaves on the line.

Croston Parish Coun Kath Almond said: “The other month, the first time since the line came to Croston in 1849, we had no trains – not a single train.

One third of all trains on the Preston to Ormskirk route were cancelled in the last six-and-a-half months of 2018. Only 3,701 trains of the 5,712 trains scheduled to run from Preston through Croston and on to Ormskirk actually ran, data analysed by the BBC revealed

One third of all trains on the Preston to Ormskirk route were cancelled in the last six-and-a-half months of 2018. Only 3,701 trains of the 5,712 trains scheduled to run from Preston through Croston and on to Ormskirk actually ran, data analysed by the BBC revealed

“Imagine how workers feel. Students, people who have missed exams, or people on jury service. People just starting jobs have lost them. Hospital appointments missed."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “For the sixth year running, the Government has capped regulated fares in line with inflation.

“It is absolutely right that passengers in the North were compensated for the disruption they suffered. Northern, TransPennine Express and GTR all launched special compensation schemes, paid for by the rail industry following the disruption last summer.

"This was worth around eight per cent to those Northern passengers on the worst affected lines including Preston to Ormskirk, which is far more than the 3.1 per cent a fares freeze would have given them.”