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Cllr Roger Truelove calls for better funding for railways

By Caitlin Webb, local democracy reporter

A councillor has criticised the government for making commuters pay for improvements rather than funding the railway better.

Cllr Roger Truelove (Labour) has called this year's 3.1% increase of rail fares "appalling" and "prohibitive".

In a bid to stop the "perpetual" annual hikes in fares, he has chaired a motion for Swale Borough Council next week calling for MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Gordon Henderson, and MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, Helen Whately, to put pressure on the government.

The Government launched a new railcard for 16 and 17 year olds
The Government launched a new railcard for 16 and 17 year olds

Cllr Truelove said: "The government and the rail companies say they have to do it to invest in the railway but what we are saying is that isn't really acceptable any more.

"There's a simplistic logic to it that the people paying for the trains should pay for the improvements but the improvements aren't great.

"Trains are overcrowded every day and often late but the fact is, all these commuters who are going into London are going there to work, they are not going for pleasure.

Cllr Roger Truelove. .Picture: Andy Payton.. (3236796)
Cllr Roger Truelove. .Picture: Andy Payton.. (3236796)

"The work is essential to our economy and it's our feeling that it's time the government put more money into the railways."

Commuters across the county picketed railway stations on Wednesday in protest of the hike.

The Government took the opportunity to announce a new railcard for 16 and 17 year olds, which would cut train fares in half in the next academic year.

It was also the launch day of the railcard for 26 to 30 year olds, which would reduce fares by a third.

Due to popular demand, the website for ordering the card has had more than a hour waiting list for most of the day.

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