Cut fares with publicly owned railways

Today I helped unveil a new manifesto pledge from the Green Party – we will cut public transport fares by 10 per cent, and bring our railways back into public ownership.


We believe that the railways should be run for the benefit of the people who use them, not for the private profit of people that happen to own them. We need affordable and reliable public transport to help reduce car usage, so reducing our carbon footprint and reducing air pollution that blights most main roads in London.

Here I am introducing our policy at London Bridge, thanks to Let Me Look TV:

This cut in fares would save a commuter in Crystal Palace or Bellingham who bought a zone 1-4 travelcard more than £200 per year, and a bus pass user in Penge or Forest Hill about £75 per year.

We can pay for a 10 per cent cut in fares by reallocating money that the Conservatives and Labour both want to spend building more roads. Their plans will just mean more traffic and more pollution. Politics and budgets are all about choices, and our priority is to make sustainable transport more affordable.

Darren Johnson has documented £28 billion of new road capacity that Boris Johnson wants to build in London. If you read that report, you can also see that there are public transport alternatives to all of the road building schemes Boris proposes:

Boris’ road-building plans for London are the tip of the iceberg when you look at the national plans. When the Tories announced them, all Labour could do was say “more and sooner”.

We don’t just want to cut fares, we also want to bring the railways back into public ownership. Privatisation has created a fragmented, unreliable and expensive system that wastes over £1bn a year. Train companies like Southern Rail line the pockets of their shareholders while fares rise and stations, rolling stock and staff are neglected.

The Green Party would bring all franchises back into public ownership when they expire. For our neck of the woods, that would mean bringing most Southern and Southeastern services within London into TfL, like the London Overground. This wouldn’t be a panacea, but would enable TfL to deliver a more joined-up service and invest in better stations.

If you want lower fares, and agree that public transport should be a priority, vote Green on the 7th May and join all those Green activists who were out this morning making the same point…