Norwich campaigners fight bid to bring in ‘super peak’ train tickets

Jess Asato, Labours Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich North, handing out postcards to commuters at

Jess Asato, Labours Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich North, handing out postcards to commuters at Norwich Station asking them to ask their MPs to speak out against 40% fare rises. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Campaigners protested at Norwich Railway Station over proposals which they say could see train users clobbered with a 40pc hike in the cost of their tickets.

Labour's campaign was against potential fare increases proposed as part of the government's fares and ticketing review, which aims to make the rail industry more efficient and less reliant on subsidies.

One proposal is to allow companies to bring in higher fares at peak times – dubbed 'super peak fares' – in an attempt to ease congestion at those times.

But Labour says that will hit passengers, with commuters from Norwich forced to pay more just to get to work on time. Labour says if the new 'super peak fares' were brought in it would increase the cost of a season ticket from Norwich to London from £7,184 to £10,057, while a peak time return would shoot up from £107 to up to £151.

Jess Asato, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, was among campaigners at Norwich Railway Station yesterday urging travellers to pressure their MPs to speak out against the increases. She said: 'Travel to work is not a luxury, it is not a commodity that can be marketised. You can not decide to shop elsewhere to receive lower prices. Many people across Norwich are reliant on the railways to commute to their place of work.'

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But Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, who has spearheaded a campaign for improved train services in Norfolk, accused Labour of hypocrisy.

She said the transport select committee had heard evidence of 'breathtaking complacency about fares and ticketing' under the previous Labour government.

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She said: 'What is most important is that we get investment in the railways and do what is reasonable to keep fares affordable both for passengers and for taxpayers.'

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