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Rail Fares

Volume 656: debated on Thursday 21 March 2019

The Government have frozen regulated rail fares in line with inflation for the sixth year in a row. In addition we announced the launch of a new 16 to 17-year-old railcard, with up to 1.2 million young people eligible for a 50% discount on rail travel to coincide with the new academic year. Fares revenue is crucial to funding day-to-day railway operations and the massive upgrade programme we are delivering, all of which benefit passengers.

The Office of Rail and Road says that the train operating companies have paid out £1.3 billion in dividends since 2014. Would it not be better to use this money to cut fares, rather than paying fat cats in the private sector?

I should point out that 98p in every £1 paid in fares goes back into investment in the industry. The argument about nationalising the railways is one that we have had here before, and I think it is the wrong approach. The approach that we have taken for the past 25 years has led to a record growth in passenger numbers, a record number of services on our network and a record level of safety across our network. The hon. Gentleman’s suggestion would simply move us back to the 1970s and to a model that failed.