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Tuesday, January 08, 2013


the wrong target (fare’s fare)

the price of public transport has gone up (again) over and above the rate of inflation (again).  although the train companies are making profits for their shareholders they claim the rise is necessary. even though their service has not improved they claim that the price rise is good for passengers.
quite what world they are living in is anyone’s guess.

two sunday papers carried attacks on different transport ministers. the mail on sunday and the sunday mirror. what is surprising is that the mail on sunday attacked the right target while the sunday mirror picks on the wrong person.

the mail onsunday ran with a story about simon burns, the rail fares minister, who uses a chauffeured driven government car to travel to work each day. the cost of the car is £80,000 a year (though not all of that can be laid at the feet of mr. burns as the car maybe used by other ministers during the day). his excuse for not catching the train into work is that he can’t work on his ministerial papers in public places; this restriction has been denied by the cabinet office. he further justifies his use of the car because he has given up his second home in london and commutes to and from work. well bully for him.
a spokesman for the passenger campaign group railfuture said ‘it would be nice if the person who is setting these fare rises was also experiencing some of the congestion and overcrowding endured by ordinary hard-pressed travellers.’ of course as a minister he could claim back his transport fees (£5.400 a year for a first class ticket. the mail have even worked out how much it would cost for him to get a daily taxi - £36,000 – but are very large savings on the £80k the departmental car costs) it is the fact that, as railfuture point out, he is avoiding the hassle that he is in part responsible for. it is yet another example of the con/dems being out of touch with ordinary people.

meanwhile the sunday mirror chose to attack norman baker, a liberal democrat transport minister, they say he has claimed £7000 in transport expenses, compared with this is a pittance. the mirrors case is made even weaker when you realise that the total is from when mr. baker took office in may 2010. to put it another way he is claiming approximately £230 a month in travel allowance to travel between his constituency and london.
mr. baker doesn’t appear to have his snout in the trough.

while politicians didn’t cover themselves in glory when it came to the expenses scandal and they now have only themselves to blame when it comes to the press jumping on them. they are also in the press firing line simply because of leveson report. there is a large chunk of the population who are furious about the above inflation price rise for their transport prices. all of this adds up to a bit of a perfect storm when it comes to transport ministers. it is just a shame that the mail on sunday got it right and the sunday mirror got it wrong.

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