Sheffield Green Party call for passengers to “make rail companies pay” for unreliable rail service as annual rail fare hike takes force.
Former Green Party leader calls for rail service and public transport to be seen as part of wider measures to reduce pollution across region.
As the annual rail fare increase comes into force, Sheffield Green Party campaigners will be at Sheffield station on Wednesday morning as workers return after the festive break, calling for passengers to “make rail companies pay” for unreliable rail service.
In 2019, rail users will be paying more than ever before for unreliable services on trains that are not fit for purpose. This comes after months of severe disruption brought about by the catastrophic May timetable change and weekly strikes by RMT staff on Northern Trains.
Green Party campaigners across Yorkshire will be speaking to rail users across Yorkshire making sure rail passengers are aware of the “Delay Repay” compensation scheme to “‘make the rail companies pay”.
Sheffield Green Councillor Douglas Johnson said “Opinion poll after opinion poll  has shown that the British public know that railway network isn’t fit for purpose and change urgently needs to happen.
“But that doesn’t help rail users here in Sheffield when they are stood on the platform waiting for a late – or worse still cancelled – train. There feels like there is little we can do except wait – or if you can, ditch the train altogether.
“Rail users must make the rail companies pay for their incompetence – literally. The Delay Repay scheme lets passengers claim compensation for late-running services.
“Yes, the compensation doesn’t make up for being late for work, or missing an important meeting but it is only right that we are compensated for a service that does not get to the destination on time. The more it costs the companies who are being paid to run these inadequate services, the quicker they will act.”
Former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, who will be at Sheffield Railway Station on Wednesday morning said: “Many of our cities here in Yorkshire are some of the most congested and polluted in Western Europe.
“We all know that the current system has failed, but we need to take a step back and look at how rail fits in with our transport policy as a whole. We must prioritise clean and cheap public transport that mean people can get around without having to rely on cars.
“The Green Party is calling for sweeping changes to transport policy including ending the expensive franchising system and instead co-ordinating national train services with profits reinvested back into the network – as happens across most of Europe.”
“We also want to see better co-ordination of public transport and a significant increase in investment to reduce pressure on our congested roads and offer a real alternative to car travel.
“Having just been at the UN climate talks in Katowice, I saw first-hand just how behind our trains are those on the Continent. German trains have large, comfortable seats, with space to stretch out and toilets that don’t smell. I saw Polish trains with ample cycle provision, and a Czech Pendolino with a dedicated children’s space with carpeted seating and big screen for cartoons.”
Sheffield Green Party campaigners will be at the station from 7am to 11pm. For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact Natalie Bennett, 07967-417859 firstname.lastname@example.org or Cllr Douglas Johnson, 07500 766 189, email@example.com.