The Leader of the Opposition and Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has condemned the decision by the Labour-controlled Greater Manchester Combined Authority to increase Metrolink fares by almost 6% from January of next year, well above inflation, as “another blow for hard-up passengers”.
Councillor Sykes represents Oldham Council on the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee.
“This decision made by the Labour Leaders of nine of the Greater Manchester local authorities, with the support of the Greater Manchester Mayor and the Tory leader of Trafford Council, shows how out of touch they are with the financial situation of many tram passengers. This increase comes on top of an increase of 3.6% in fares on our railways which were introduced in July of this year.”
“This is the first of three years of pain as Metrolink fares will be steadily increased year on year, but the pain will not end there as from January 2021, fares will increase annually by 1% above inflation.”
“Labour complains constantly about Tory austerity and wage freezes in the public sector and then hits passengers who are feeling the pinch with unremitting fare increases. This is simply not fair – Metrolink is in profit. We should be encouraging more passengers to use the service and cracking down on fare evasion to increase revenue not hammering the fare-paying passengers who already use it.”
Councillor Sykes is also concerned about the impact this increase may have on our environment: “I repeat the comments that I made in advance of the rise in rail fares in July. Price hikes discourage rail use and encourage passengers to get back in their cars increasing air pollution and traffic congestion – this is not good for us or for our planet or Greater Manchester.”