PORTSMOUTH’S Labour MP has joined his party’s call to place the British rail network back under public ownership after a summer of ‘botched’ timetable alterations.
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has said increasing rail fares and timetable changes have caused ‘mayhem for thousands’ – and commuters from the city face ‘further overcrowding, delays and cancellations’ this autumn.
He has rallied behind his party’s pledge for ‘affordable fares and reliable services’.
‘Following the botched introduction of new timetables across the network in May which led to severe delays, alterations and cancellations, and mayhem for thousands of passengers across the country, I want to make sure commuters and rail users here in Portsmouth are given the best possible service from current rail operators,’ Mr Morgan said.
‘This autumn millions of passengers face further overcrowding, delays and cancellations. The government is simply failing to stand up for all those who use our rail.’
As previously reported, passengers travelling via Southern Rail – which operates through Portsmouth – were among those affected when timetables changed in May.
The firm is part of the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which rescheduled every one of its trains earlier this year.
As part of Labour’s plan, Mr Morgan has co-founded a cross-party group in Parliament to improve local rail services, often meeting with operators.
He added: ‘Passengers, our economy and our environment need affordable fares and reliable services which Tory policy is failing to deliver.
‘Labour has a plan which will cap fares, upgrade and expand the network and deliver better, more reliable services. That’s what the people of Portsmouth deserve.’
According to Labour statistics, regulated rail fares have risen by 32 per cent on average since 2010 – three times faster than the average wage growth.
Despite what the party dubbed ‘the biggest drop in passenger numbers in 25 years’, fares are allegedly set to rise again in January – by 3.2 per cent.
Labour’s campaign to improve rail services, which can be found online, is called All Change Please.
A Southern statement said just one in 10 train services were delayed in June.