Jeremy Corbyn joins activists at King's Cross for rail fare rises …
Jeremy Corbyn and shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood at a protest over rail fares outside King s Cross station in central London. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA
Jeremy Corbyn joined Labour and union activists at King s Cross station in London as they leafleted passengers on the first working day since rail fare rises were implemented across the country. About 40 activists gathered at the station, along with the general secretaries of the biggest rail unions, Aslef, TSSA and the RMT, to protest against an average fare rise of 1.1% that came in on Saturday.
Labour has calculated that commuters are paying an average of 25% more for rail season tickets since David Cameron took office. The shadow transport secretary, Lilian Greenwood, said it meant passengers have been hit by a truly staggering rise of up to 2,000 in cash terms since 2010.
Speaking to LBC radio on Monday, Corbyn said the UK s railways were becoming increasingly unaffordable for commuters. Many that have bought property or moved to either suburbs of London or further away, or the suburbs of any of our major cities [and] moved further out, are then stuck with very high fares to get in and out of work, he said.
If it goes on like this then people go back to road transport, we go back to greater congestion. The railways are a sustainable, good form of transport and they should be affordable for all. Corbyn said that the UK had the most expensive railways in Europe and pointed out that a number of British rail lines are run by companies that are owned by foreign governments.
What we want is the train operating companies brought into public ownership as their franchises expire, said Corbyn. But in the meantime we want the Department for Transport to get hold of the fare structure so that commuting is affordable, so that railways are affordable.
At the Labour party conference in September, the party formally committed itself to the renationalisation of the English rail network, returning private franchises into public ownership when they come to an end. Corbyn s visit to King s Cross coincided with campaigning by Labour s London mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, who visited Waterloo station on Monday morning to highlight his pledge to freeze transport fares in the capital for four years. Volunteers for Khan s campaign visited stations across London. Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Khan was asked about his support for Corbyn. Let me give you a newsflash: Jeremy Corbyn is not on the ballot paper in the May mayoral elections and nor is David Cameron, I am, said the MP for Tooting. So I have got to set out over the course of the next 120 days who I am.
- ^ rail fare rises (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ RMT (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Labour has calculated (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Labour (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Compensation for train delays? Make sure rail operators show you the money (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ London (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ that are owned by foreign governments (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Transport (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ renationalisation of the English rail network (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Khan was asked about his support for Corbyn (www.theguardian.com)