Hove MP to meet commuters outside station as fares rise

Posted On 04 Jan 2016 at 7:40 am

The Labour MP for Hove, Peter Kyle, is due to meet commuters outside Hove Station this morning (Monday 4 January) as fares rise and passengers once again face delays.

Mr Kyle will also meet the Rail Minister Claire Perry later this week to raise his concerns about the performance of Southern, the main train company serving Brighton and Hove.

He criticised the “Christmas rail shambles” on Saturday (2 January) and said: “With today’s increase in season tickets it is even more important to get this right because we are simply not getting value for money right now.

“I’m spending Monday morning meeting commuters outside Hove’s train stations and then meeting ministers later in the week.

Peter Kyle shadows a train driver

Peter Kyle shadows a train driver

“Please let me know your thoughts because I always, without fail, use the examples you give me to prepare for these meetings.”

Today it was revealed that commuters in England spend a much higher proportion of their pay on train fares than those elsewhere in Europe.

A comparison was carried out by Action for Rail, a TUC and railway unions’ campaign, which plans protests outside more than 60 stations this morning.

Action for Rail said that commuters here were paying about 13 per cent of their wages on trains fares compared with 2 per cent in Italy, 3 per cent in Spain and 4 per cent in Germany.

An annual season ticket from Hove to London Victoria costs £4,108 and those including tube travel cost £5,244.

Peter Kyle, Simon Kirby and Claire Perry

Simon Kirby MP, Rail Minister Claire Perry and Peter Kyle MP

Mr Kyle said on his Facebook page: “The run up to Christmas saw the Brighton to London service descend into a total shambles.

“We all know what happened: signal failure, train breakdowns, and heart-breaking suicides being compounded by chronic driver shortages to create the perfect storm of delays, overcrowding and confusion.”

He said that he had spent time shadowing a train driver and seeing first-hand how they are trained, adding: “It takes 18 months to train new drivers and I can see why. It’s a tough, pressurised and highly skilled job.

“Passengers and frontline staff have been let down by train managers and government.

“Even though they are training more drivers than ever before it came too late to help Christmas services.

“Ministers made a promise to my face – and as your MP that means the promise was to you too – that services would improve in six months but they have not.

“The challenge we have is complex. In the short term we need enough drivers and staff and rolling stock and to improve punctuality.

“In the medium term we need better rolling stock, more 12-car trains and a tighter regime of maintenance to improve reliability and minimise disruption.

“And in the long term we must have new track capacity.”

He vowed to keep battling for better services and strategic answers to the problems afflicting passengers.

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