Thursday, September 06, 2007

A champion for rail commuters...sometimes

Bourne Tory Mark Horn is attacking plans which could see rail fares from Peterborough rise by more than two-per-cent above inflation over the duration of the seven year franchise recently won by National Express.

The bus company justifies its fare hikes to pay for increased and improved services with more trains and more seats - and promises to cap season ticket increases to one per cent above inflation.

But Mark, a member of the ruling Conservative Group on Lincolnshire County Council -
and also a regular commuter - tells the Peterborough Evening Telegraph that the increases can't be justified and complains that they will force commuters back into their cars.

He may have a valid argument.

But then I don't recall Mark championing the commuters' cause when his Tory mates at Peterborough City Council doubled charges recently for on street parking near the station used by commuters.

Closer to home, I also don't recall him saying a dickie bird when his own Group at Lincolnshire County Council trebled home care charges for vulnerable people he was elected to represent.


Brynley said...

Mark Horn gets respect because he has opinions and argues cogently for them.

Which is what politicians are for, amongst other things.

He has some interesting ideas about the future of public transport in our area and is not afraid to float investment proposals for the long term.

He has been courageous, if a little one-sided, in standing up for a proper consultation on travellers sites.

As for rail fares, OK the Ryanair style of charging takes some getting used to, but the decision to increase fares dramatically is Labour policy, the subsidy is to fall steeply.

fairdealphil said...

agree to a point with you about Mark Horn...particularly on his stance on travellers sites.

on rail, passengers carried have increased enormously over the past ten years, but is it any wonder Labour wants to reduce the massive subsidies to the private companies who run our railways for the benefit of their shareholders...?

Brynley said...

Your last paragraph can't be serious, Phil.

The Train Operating Companies have no real discretion about investment in the railway. They just run the trains.

Our problem - which you skate over and Mark Horn doesn't - is that lack of strategic investment in rail in our area (or in most of England outside London).

To say, Phil, that cutting rail subsidy is good because it might end up increasing profitability at National Express or Virgin is disingenuous twaddle, I'm afraid Phil.