Freeze Southern train fares say Lib Dems

Lib Dem county councillor Morwen Millson

Lib Dem county councillor Morwen Millson

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Southern train fares should be frozen next year, according to West Sussex Liberal Democrats.

The average cost of tickets are set to rise by 1.8 per cent from January, something that has angered commuters and politicians given the disruption to services run by Govia Thameslink Railway throughout 2016.

Problems include staff shortages, Network Rail track issues, management problems and industrial action.

Liberal Democrats at County Hall are set to call on West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith to write to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling requesting a freeze on rail fares until the dispute is settled alongside the introduction of season tickets for part-time workers.

They will also ask her to work with colleagues across the Southern network to ask Mr Grayling to intervene in the dispute.

Morwen Millson (LDem, Horsham Riverside) said: “This is a slap in the face of the travelling public. Not only are they suffering the most appalling delays and travelling conditions, but they are now expected to pay even more for their tickets.”

James Walsh (LDem, Littlehampton East), leader of the Lib Dem group, added: “The Southern Rail problem is down to failure to recruit adequate numbers of drivers and a failure in industrial relations.

“Residents of West Sussex are now paying twice for the Government’s failure to get to grips with the situation, firstly in high commuter fares, and secondly for the Government compensation scheme, as the tax payer picks up the tab for refunds on tickets due to late running. It is time the Government got a grip and put Southern into ‘Special Measures’, as they would with schools or hospitals!”

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