By Paul Lacey
Commuters could face a new ‘super peak’ rail fare between 8.30 and 9am in Britain’s major cities under government attempts to ease overcrowding.
Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, unveiled the proposals following the publication of a report into the rail industry by Sir Roy McNulty.
The government review also looks at reducing fares in Europe’s most expensive commuter rail network but skeptics argue that rises are far more likely.
Labour MEP Peter Skinner said: “We are once again seeing hard pressed commuters being squeezed. The Government is in danger of turning the railways into a rich man’s toy.”
Hard hit commuters already face fare rises above inflation over the next two years as the coalition tries to reduce rail industry spending by £3.6 billion a year by 2019.
A host of other measures were recommended in the review, including proposals that could see hundreds of rail ticket offices shut.
Bob Crowe, leader of the RMT union, said that the government review could cost 12,000 jobs and didn’t rule out possible strike action if the plan went ahead.
The Transport Secretary has argued that the changes are essential to improve the quality of the rail service in Britain.
She said: “It is about building a more efficient and affordable rail network that serves its passengers better, encourages the rail industry to thrive and grow, and ultimately reinvigorates and sustains Britain’s economy.”