A BID for councillors to be given new powers over the rail network has been rejected.
Labour councillors on Worcestershire County Council failed to win backing for their plan for council leader Adrian Hardman and county MPs to ask the Government for changes which would give local authorities power over a range of factors
including co-ordinating train services, overseeing stations and ensuring customer satisfaction across the network.
They also wanted ministers to cap annual fare rises on every route, simplify fare pricing structures and create a new legal right to the cheapest ticket.
The move was in response to the recent round of price rises which saw fares increase overall by an average of 2.2 per cent at the start of January and the cost of regulated fares, including season tickets, going up by 2.5 per cent. An annual season ticket from Redditch to Birmingham New Street now costs £1,300 a year.
Coun Richard Udall said issues including overcrowding, unclean trains and unreliable timetables had led to a ‘cocktail of commuter despair’.
“The rail companies take more and more from the travelling public and give nothing back.” he added.
But Coun Lucy Hodgson, responsible for localism and communities on the council, said she could not support the motion put forward at a full council meeting last Thursday (January 15) as motorists paid car tax to use the roads so rail commuters needed to pay what the fees actually cost.
“You can get much cheaper fees if you just pay in advance and look what’s out there. You do have to pay the correct fares and shouldn’t just be subsidising them to that extent.”