Labour have today criticised the government and Dartford’s Conservative MP for failing to tackle rising fares and poor performance on our railways.
Fare increases that come into force today mean that the cost of an annual season ticket from Dartford to London is now £2,356 while the price from Greenhithe has risen to £2,396. These rises are bad news for families at the start of a new year and mean that the government has overseen an increase to regulated fares of a staggering 25% since 2010.
What frustrates local rail passengers is that while we are being asked to pay more, we don’t see a corresponding increase in performance.
Not only have Dartford passengers had to put up with a severely reduced and disrupted service over the Christmas and New Year period, the most recent performance figures from Southeastern show that less than half of trains are arriving at their destination on time.
We are just not getting a good enough service from Southeastern, but Dartford’s MP and the Rail Minister Claire Perry, despite promising to get tough on punctuality and delays, have done nothing to hold Southeastern to account and push for a better service for Dartford passengers.
In fact, it was the Conservatives who rewarded Southeastern with an extension to their franchise until 2018. Labour in Dartford has always said that passengers are frustrated with Southeastern appearing to be rewarded for their poor performance and when the franchise comes up for renewal we’d welcome other operators, including those from the public and not for profit sector, submitting bids.
Commenting on todays’ fare increases, Leader of Dartford Labour , Councillor Jonathon Hawkes said:
“The annual hike in rail fares has become an unwelcome new year tradition for train passengers in Dartford. Under David Cameron, regulated fares have increased by a staggering 25% since 2010 and passengers in Dartford are just not seeing a corresponding improvement in service from Southeastern Trains.
When the Conservatives handed Southeastern an extension to their franchise Dartford was promised “a fresh start”. Passengers being hit with today’s fare increases on top of worsening performance will feel that’s turned out to be a hollow promise. Gareth Johnson has failed to stand up for Dartford – he hasn’t held Southeastern to account and its passengers who are paying the price”
- · Annual Season Ticket prices taken from Southeastern trains website on Saturday 2nd January
- · Performance Figures taken from http://www.networkrail.co.uk/about/performance/