MP points out #FastTrackWorcester campaign could deliver lower fares and better service

Worcester’s Conservative Candidate has given a warm welcome to plans from the party to freeze regulated rail fares so that they rise by no more than the rate of inflation over the next five years.

He has often spoken out about both the cost and the reliability of the rail service that Worcester gets and has campaigned to get a major upgrade to services both between Worcester and London, and those between Worcester and Birmingham. Robin has also consistently campaigned to make road travel cheaper for his constituents by backing cuts and freezes to fuel duty.

The cost of commuting is one of the biggest household bills that hardworking families face and it
is something the Conservatives are determined to bear down on by limiting fare rises. It shouldn’t just be taken for granted that people across the country who get up early and come home late, spend a large amount of the money they earn travelling to and from work. Because of the difficult decisions that we have taken to repair the economy, we have been able to freeze regulated fare rises in real terms for the past two years. If elected in May, we’d continue that freeze for the next five years.

Only the Conservatives can offer families the additional financial security that this will bring. Under Labour, commuters were hit with above inflation rises year after year. Robin pointed out that today’s announcement from the Conservative Party is consistent with the approach it has taken over the last two years, making sure that regulated fares – those relating to season tickets and tickets bought on the day for travel – are increased by no more than the rate of inflation. This contrasts with the approach that Labour took whilst in office, which allowed rail companies flexibility of up to 5% around the rate of inflation and led to consistently above inflation increases in prices during their five years. In Labour’s last year in office fares rose by a staggering 11%.

Robin has led the #FastTrackWorcester campaign in Parliament to press for a two hour journey time between Worcester and the capital by dualling track, getting better trains, timetabling improvements, and achieving investments in re-signalling. Earlier this year he won support from the Prime Minister for this target by raising it in PMQs. He has worked together with Harriett Baldwin and Sir Peter Luff to secure investment in Worcestershire Parkway Station and to press for better rolling stock to deal with overcrowding on the Worcester to Birmingham Line. During Robin’s time as MP the partial redoubling of the Cotswold line has been completed, Foregate Street Station has had its entrance upgraded and disabled access has been improved at Shrub Hill as well as firm finance being committed for the first time to Worcestershire Parkway. He is pushing for still more improvements.

Commenting on today’s announcement Robin said:

“This is a sensible decision to help commuters with the cost of travel and to ensure that the benefits of a period of exceptionally low inflation are passed on to hard working rail users. I am hopeful that we will see the same results from this as we saw from the freezes and cuts to fuel duty, that revenues will be increased by more people using the transport that is available, and that in turn can help to bring fares down as well as helping to reduce congestion.”

“I am convinced that if we can achieve a better, faster, more reliable service for Worcester then rail use will increase, the rail companies will be able to run more trains, and it will become economic for them to reduce fares. I will keep pressing for a better service and it is very clear that a Conservative Government offers not only a better value rail service, but the improvements that our County so desperately needs. We are seeing more investment in our railways than at any time since the Victorian era and today’s announcement on fares will mean that more people can benefit from that.”

Notes to editors

For more detail on Robin’s rail campaigns see:

Robin has also welcomed widespread Government investment in the railways

He has also pushed for better rolling stock on a number of occasions

He has backed redoubling of the Costwold line even before he became an MP