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Letter: Claims Rail Passengers Will Be Happy with Fare Hike Are Doublespeak

Published on: 8 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 8 Sep, 2021

From: John Harrison

In response to Off-Peak Fares To Waterloo To Rise By ‘Staggering’ 27%

So SWR plans to reduce seats for mainline customers to 71% of capacity (from 98% according to SWR Timetable Consultation p 14) and reduce the number of trains by assuming people will on average commute only 2.6 days per week.

But increasingly, indications are that people will commute closer to four days per week. It will take a couple of years to be certain, so planning major changes out to 2050 now is mad. These proposals look to be based purely on wishful thinking and set to create untold misery.

SWR is quoted saying that customers will be happy with this, and a 29% increase in off-peak prices. It’s the kind of totalitarian doublespeak that the new owners of South-Western Railways should have left in China.

Meanwhile Network Rail intends to upgrade the track with, for example, a flyover at Woking to speed up the journey from Guildford to London.

Reducing services from four to three trains per hour means even more overcrowding at popular times, bigger problems when things go wrong, longer to wait and greater stress over catching a train, and since the through trains are to be chopped, longer journey times and greater chance that it will be ”full and standing” before it even gets to Guildford.

SWR has clearly issued its so-called consultation briefly over the summer whilst people are on holiday. Comments must be submitted by September 19.

The Chinese are good at imposing their will on a compliant population. Our government has woken up to problems with Huawei. And our government is responsible for our anarchic railway system. Our MP Angela Richardson needs to be down at the station, chaining herself to the track, fighting for the interests of her constituents. It’s no good just going there with a rosette on polling day. Or does she drive to the Commons at our expense?

Crass, opportunistic, exploitative, unjustified, dishonest vandalism would be my comment to SWR.

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