THIS week, Northern Rail has put up its fares by up to 117 per cent following the phasing out of some of its off-peak fares.

Even to a region that braces itself for above-inflation rail fare hikes every January, this has come as a shock.

Peak fares, effectively a tax on commuting, encouraging people to drive to work instead of taking the train, should be scrapped, not extended.

Northern Rail, which operates most services in Cheshire has been pressed by the Department for Transport (DfT) to raise extra funds as the Ggovernment aims to cut its subsidy of £713 million.

It’s all too common to hear stories of the poor service provided by rail companies and no-one argues they provide value for money. 

The Green Party argues that only by re-nationalising rail can we start to tackle the problems of a disjointed system and save up to £1 billion per year. MP Caroline Lucas has a Bill before Parliament proposing just that.

The one train company in public hands is East Coast Rail. It is praised for its service, takes less in subsidy than all the private operators and made a net payment back to the Government of £16m.

John Knight Cheshire East Green Party