CALLS for a simple pricing plan for the railways have been made by a local transport expert.
And costs associated with the railways must be reduced to improve the transport system, says Peter Marshall, spokesman for the Huddersfield, Penistone and Sheffield Rail Users’ Association responding to a review of the rail industry.
And he welcomed the news that the rail services could take inspiration from Europe.
Mr Marshall said: “We are pleased that the review has considered the operation of railways in Sweden, Switzerland and other European countries.
“There is a lot we can learn from the way the railway is run elsewhere.”
The association agrees with the review’s findings that costs must be reduced, especially in maintenance programmes which are undertaken by Network Rail.
Mr Marshall added: “It is ridiculous that a waiting shelter can cost £5,000 to erect by the roadside but £20,000 on a station platform.”
He said that in Switzerland there is one basic fare for any single journey and the return is double, while commuters can purchase an annual rail card which reduces fares to half-price.
He added: “Neither do we need a further reduction in staff on trains or stations. Although rail travel is very safe, there is a need for another member of the train crew in addition to the driver.
“We look forward to further savings being found, but not at additional cost to the passenger.”
The Whitehall-commissioned review of rail industry costs was carried out by former Civil Aviation Authority chairman Sir Roy McNulty, whose team said the fares review was necessary to simplify a complex system and to help the management of peak demand.
He called for consideration to be given to changes to off-peak and saver regulation.
Other findings include – no line closures, franchising should be reformed, the use of smartcards should be accelerated and the expectation that salaries at all levels of the railway industry will increase ahead of inflation had to end.
Sir Roy said rail wages had risen twice as high as those for other industries.