Globe-trotting star Michael Palin joins fair rail fares drive

BROADCASTER and Monty Python star Michael Palin is backing a campaign for cheaper rail fares, claiming that rocketing ticket prices are "holding travellers to ransom".

He is supporting the drive for cheaper train fares as commuters returning to work next week face huge increases.

In the wake of pay cuts and reduced hours, millions of workers now face season tickets that could cost more than a fifth of the average UK income.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The fare rises, which come into effect on 2 January, mean that commuters in some parts of the country are being asked to pay 5,192, or 20 per cent of the average salary, for their annual ticket.

The Fair Fares Now campaign by charity Campaign for Better Transport, is asking for cheaper, simpler and fairer tickets.

Commuters will have to fork out an average 5.8 per cent extra for season tickets, and up 12.7 per cent in some places - with prices set to soar another 25 per cent by 2015.

The campaign, to which Mr Palin was the first signatory, will harness the widespread anger felt by passengers to demand that the Government keeps its promise to make rail fares fair.

The television travelogue star said: "Rail fare rises are holding travellers to ransom, and increasing the likelihood that people will have to take to our already over-crowded roads.

"Regular price hikes are no way for the Government and train companies to reward their regular customers."

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: "Commuters feel like they are being pick-pocketed by the Government, expected to pay more year-on-year for the same poor quality service.

"Even with the promised extra investment, many passengers will see no actual improvement to their daily commute. Politicians need to start living in the real world and understand that people cannot afford to pay a fifth of their income to do a day's work."