The Green Party of England and Wales has reacted strongly to reports yesterday (6 December) that huge numbers of Britons are thinking of switching from rail to other transport modes in response to imminent rises in rail fares.
A report published by jobs website www.reed.co.uk suggests that more than one person in four will consider a switch in transport modes from January 2011. This is when rail fares are set to rise by 6.2 per cent on average, with some commuters facing increases twice that high.
The survey, involving some 3,000 visitors to the Reed jobs website, predicts that the number of car trips to work is set to rise by six per cent in the country as a whole and by more than 50 per cent in London.
The Green Party strongly opposes increases in rail fares and has argued for greater investment to improve services and cut fares. The party said that the coalition government, which has promised to be “the greenest government ever” was effectively forcing people into the least green travel options.
"It's wrong for both economic and environmental reasons, and it's also unnecessary,” said the Green Party's Leader, Caroline Lucas MP, “We could find billions of pounds to improve public transport and help reduce fares if we switched funding from pointless road building schemes."
Lucas became the UK's first Green MP when she was elected to represent Brighton Pavilion in the general election in May this year.
"Under the Tories, then Labour, now the coalition, we've seen public transport fares increase in real terms while services have deteriorated,” said Lucas.
She insisted, “The problem is a political one, and the solution will be political - people who want to rescue and revitalise Britain's public transport network need to vote for the only political party committed to doing that”.
Lucas added that the Green Party is “committed to massive investment in better public transport including lower fares”.