Ticket Office Closures and Fare Hikes: The Tories’ Assault on UK Rail Passengers
Rail passengers face the highest fare hike in 27 years despite the Tories’ brutal closure of ticket offices across the country.
Analysis shows fares could surge by 8% next year, hammering commuters already reeling from the cost of living crisis. This comes as the government presses ahead with plans to gut 974 station ticket counters, sparking outrage.
Former minister Norman Baker blasted the hikes as “eye-watering” and said the government should freeze fares until long-promised reforms occur. Yet the Tories remain stubbornly committed to making travel increasingly unaffordable for ordinary people.
The fare explosions expose the hollowness of Rishi Sunak’s claims to be protecting households from pressures. His government is actively exacerbating the squeeze through inflationary hikes while degrading services.
The ticket office closures will particularly hurt the vulnerable who rely on staff for assistance. But Tory rail minister Huw Merriman has shamelessly tried to spin the cuts as benign. His reassurances that no stations will lose staff have proven false.
In reality, dozens of stations will have reduced staff hours and no one present at certain times after the closures. The train firms themselves admit disabled access will suffer. Yet Merriman misleads the public and refuses to listen to consultation responses from hundreds of thousands opposing the move.
But the truth is brutally simple – the Tories are hammering passengers with unaffordable fare hikes while slashing essential services like ticket offices that many depend on. Their “modernization” doubles down on excluding the vulnerable.
Voters have spoken clearly against these closures in the consultation, with over 680,000 responding. Yet the Tories forge ahead, ripping up a lifeline for many, especially the elderly and disabled.
Sunak’s evasiveness proves the Conservatives will gladly ignore public interests for ideological cuts. They act like the railways exist to serve shareholders, not citizens. The fact the railways and shareholders are in the main foreign countries and hedge funders fly in the face of all reason. Their fare increases and service reductions reveal who they really serve – global big business, not ordinary people just trying to get by.
They assume commuters have no choice but to endure whatever pain inflicted. But the Ticket Offices campaign proves the public’s resistance. If this government respected citizens as anything but captive cash cows, they would abandon these callous cuts.
However, the Tories have shown their true colours, prioritising profits over people at every turn. Voters will remember the contempt poured on them come election time.