Metro fares to rise while controlling Labour calls for freeze elsewhere

December 3, 2018 1:50 PM
Metro ticket machineOne event no-one particularly looks forward to at this time of the year is the announcement of rail fare rises. The annual announcement,which is perhaps more punctual than rail services, is never popular but reflects annual inflationary pressures in terms of rail staff pay rises and other operating costs.
Every year opportunist politicians call for a fares freeze. The Labour Shadow Cabinet spokesman for transport, Andy McDonald - a North East MP - has called for the Government to intervene to freeze fares on national rail services instead of implementing the national 3.1% fare increase, citing the chaos on the railways and the failure of privatised companies to deliver a reliable service.
Ironically, his call came on the same day that the Labour controlled North East Combined Authority's Tyne and Wear transport subcommittee met to rubber stamp fare increases for 2019 for the Tyne and Wear Metro. Many fares will rise by more than 3.1%, with a single zone ticket rising 5.5% and a child day ticket rising by 7.7%.
Labour is fond of condemning privatisation and wants to renationalise the railways. However, the Metro is already publicly owned and managed, is beset by the same problems of poor reliability as its heavy rail counterparts, and is raising some of its fares by a higher amount.
Will the Labour Shadow Cabinet and regional Labour politicians be calling for a freezing of fares on Metro too? It's in their power to make this happen. Somehow, I doubt they will.
This is a letter sent by Cllr Greg Stone (Lib Dem), Opposition transport spokesperson, Newcastle City Council, to The Journal