Watching Labour Transport spokeswoman Maria Eagle touring the TV studios today, you’d think Labour had never put rail fares up during their time in office. If only that were true. Since 2004 fares have risen by inflation plus 1% under a formula put in place by, yes, you guessed it, the then Labour Transport Secretary. There’s a word for Maria Eagle’s weasel words today and it begins with H and ends in Y. OK, this is the sort of thing oppositions do, everyone knows that, but her words will cut little ice with an electorate which has a longer memory than Ms Eagle and her colleagues might imagine.
The thing is that many people are actually noticing that their railways are getting better. That’s certainly the case on the line I use – Tonbridge to London. New rolling stock and relatively reliable performance mean that although none of us want to pay more, we can at least see an improvement on what the service was like a decade or so ago. I am sure that this is not the same on every line, but credit where credit is due, on Southeastern Railways the extra investment is being put to good use. One thing though, the car parking is an absolute rip-off!