Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Rail fare rise - Where are our MPs?
BUT... is there any foundation in these claims?
On the surface of it -Yes after all the prices went up.
BUT... If you took a moment to look beneath the surface and ignore opportunistic gumpf...
Mark Reckless, Tracey Crouch and Rehman Chishti have indeed been petitioning the Minister for Rail Theresa Villiers on our behalf since coming into power. As has Mike Hancock MP for Portsmouth (and a Lib Dem by the way- the only one whose constituents travel from the south to London) as have his Conservative colleagues in the Southern region such as the other MP for Portsmouth, Gosport, Woking and others. I watched the debate on BBC Parliament as they discussed Rolling stock, fares, renewal of franchise etc. The house was hardly packed and Ms Villiers was not moved by their words. In fact she used the same defence she did in her letter to me (http://gingerliberal.blogspot.com/2011/06/letter-from-theresa-villiers-to-rehman.html ). That to take the burden off the commuter it would have to be shifted to the tax payer and in today's economic climate and austerity - especially with more pressing things to spend money on.
The MPs - naught but backbenchers with no power other than to represent, have and continue to petition on our behalf. Yesterday Evening Tracey Crouch wrote;
The money Southeastern get from the commuters already should be enough for investment in stations, rolling stock etc but the main thing constituents ask me for is simply a better service. They want a service that gets them to their destination on time (preferably with a seat), stops at the stations it is scheduled to stop at, that the staff are polite, and that the toilets are clean. If five years of the highest increases in train fares in the country cannot deliver that then we have more than a problem of simply being an additional squeeze on the wallets of commuters.
I will also be making further representations to Government Ministers to try and ensure that the plus 3 formula is reduced in the South East before other parts of the country
(for the full post; http://blog.traceycrouch.org/2011/08/disappointing-increases-to-train-fares.html )
Instead of criticising her and the others we should be supporting their efforts to abolish RPI+3, after all as Miss Crouch has says, we've paid our share of HS1. The Medway MP's could try and table something but in the grand scale of things who will vote for more tax payers money to go to subsidising the railways when it is needed else where?
Also most commuters don't mind about the prices going up if the service was to improve or went up with inflation, after all Southeastern have to cover their running costs.
BUT when our services are dirty, late, cancelled, overcrowded etc...
It is interesting that the question of what would a Labour MP or what more could our MPs do better has been left unanswered.
Forgetting my party allegiance and friendships with other party members and councillors - I'm a commuter, husband and father who needs to be able to afford to support my family, this is not the time for party political opportunism or fighting in which we, the middle is forgotten and lose out again. From my dealings with Rehman Chishti, he has passed on my humble communication to Ms Villiers ( http://gingerliberal.blogspot.com/2011/01/open-letter-to-rehman-chishti-mp.html) and responded (http://gingerliberal.blogspot.com/2011/02/response-from-mr-chisthi-mp-to-my-email.html). I have also written to Nick Clegg asking for representation not only as head of the party, deputy prime minister but also as champion of "Alarm clock Britain." (http://gingerliberal.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-letter-to-nick-clegg-concerning-rail.html) Unfortunately I do not believe there is any light at the end of the tunnel for suffering commuters and I for one may be forced to give up my job and work closer to home.