St Albans First Capital Connect commuters sign fares petition

Hundreds sign petition against unfair train fare hikes

MORE than 350 St Albans rail commuters signed a petition against unfair train fares last Tuesday as part of a national bid to let ministers know how unpopular and damaging year-on-year hikes are.

Fair Fares Now campaigners visited 40 key commuter stations across the country, including St Albans, during a fortnight of action to highlight spiralling rail costs.

It is a national drive launched by transport charity Campaign for Better Transport, which supports green travel but believes public transport should be affordable, accessible and convenient.

Following complaints from readers, the Herts Advertiser has also been involved in an ongoing campaign to push for an affordable, better service for local commuters from First Capital Connect.

Fair Fares Now estimate that a season ticket from St Albans to London could cost �3,048.42 next year – a �228.42 hike.

St Albans resident, Amanda Yorwerth, local coordinator for Friends of the Earth, said the petition outside St Albans City Railway Station, “went extremely well.”

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Campaigners collected 362 signatures in just an hour. Amanda said that Fair Fares Now coordinators told her it was the largest number collected in such a short time.

She pointed out that commuters were concerned about fares going up because it was already expensive in St Albans. She added: “There were a lot of people who were complaining about the quality of the service. One person had been delayed for hours.”

Alice Ridley, press officer for Campaign for Better Transport, said the organisation was still collating signatures, as the petition is also available online, but thousands have signed already.

Campaigners hope to present the petition to Parliament in Autumn, to coincide with a government review into train fares.

Alice said: “We are keen to see no more increases.”