RAIL union campaigners received widespread public support yesterday as they protested at stations across northern England against fare rises and new profit-driven franchises.
Northern Rail, which runs services between the east and west coasts and from the Scottish border to the northern Midlands, yesterday abolished cheaper off-peak fares, meaning increases of 100 per cent on some journeys.
Transport union RMT targeted 11 stations yesterday, including Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, at which it informed passengers of the hike. More stations will see protests this week.
“RMT today launched the next phase of the fight to both inform the public and fight the savage cuts being lined up for these northern rail franchises,” said RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash.
The union has lobbied tens of thousands of passengers in weeks of campaigning, warning them of worse to come.
The franchises for Northern Rail and TransPennine Express (TPE) are up for grabs and have been redrafted, allowing profiteers to increase fares, reduce services, axe jobs and close ticket offices.
“Let’s not forget that the core of the government’s future plans for Northern and TPE is to axe jobs, throw the guards off the trains and jack up fares while capacity to meet surging rail demand in the area is left to stagnate,” said Mr Cash.
“That attack on the fare-paying public has already begun and only an all-out and coordinated fight can stop the savage assault.”
MPs are being urged to sign a parliamentary early day motion opposing the changes.