Liberal Democrats in Gateshead have demanded that National Express abandons its plans to impose a 6% increase in the price of regulated fares, season tickets and saver tickets.
The increase in ticket prices not regulated by the government is to be an even steeper 7.4%
The announcement of the inflation-busting fares hike on 21st November was met with an angry response by Gateshead Councillor Jonathan Wallace.
“Train passengers living in Gateshead are being hit for six by National Express,” said Cllr Wallace. “At a time when people are struggling with the recession, this train company is adding to people’s difficulties and is stinging passengers for more cash.
“These rises could make the recession worse in the North East and could lead to more congestion and pollution as people abandon public transport for their car instead.
“I am calling on the government to step in and use the power they have over regulated fares to impose a freeze on ticket prices for a year. This could be paid for from within the Government’s transport budget.
“Just as the Government stepped in to freeze fuel duty for motorists because of the recession, they should change their mind and stop these price increases going ahead.
“Rail passengers will rightly feel that they are being taken for a ride by National Express. They have every right to feel angry with this price hike and with the Government for letting it happen.”
The Government has agreed that the ticket price increases can come into effect on 2nd January 2009.