Stephen Williams, Lib Dem contender for West of England Mayor, is calling for the annual increase in rail fares to be cancelled, a move which would save commuters to London from Bristol and Bath nearly £200 next year, according to the Party's analysis.
The call follows the announcement of July’s Retail Price Index - the figure normally used to calculate the increase in fares at the end of the year - showing inflation at 1.6%.
The Liberal Democrats argue that any increase in ticket prices will be a “slap in the face” for consumers when the Government should be trying to get people back onto sustainable forms of transport and investing to improve these vital services.
Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat contender for the Mayor of the West of England said:
“At a time when so many families are already stretched due to COVID-19, the Conservatives seem happy for commuters in the West of England to face yet another hike in the price of their season tickets.
“A freeze on fares would save commuters from Bristol £199 and from Bath £168 next year and potentially hundreds more if the fare freeze was locked in until the next election.
“If I am elected next May I will use my experience of how Westminster works to apply maximum pressure on the Government to keep costs down for commuters and to bring in new types of season ticket to suit more flexible working patterns.”
Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:
“Any plans to go ahead with a fare increase this year will be a slap in the face for consumers.
“Our railways are vital in the fight to tackle the climate emergency and cut air pollution. Rather than putting off commuters with yet another price hike, the Government must help the industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
“Liberal Democrats are calling for a freeze on fares until the next election, as well as for the Government to publish and implement the Rail Review and invest to increase capacity.”