Union protest over fare changes

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Protests over ticket prices are being held at train stations across Lancashire.

RMT union members are furious at Northern Rail’s decision to axe a range of off-peak fares.

From yesterday, off-peak tickets are no longer valid in the evening peak on weekdays on any services in the Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire areas and associated routes between 4.01pm and 6.29pm.

The changes are part of the new franchise agreement that was announced in March.

The company claim the change “is the only option that has been taken forward and will be used to reduce the cost of the railway to taxpayers by reducing subsidy to Northern.”

It adds: “The majority of customers who travel in the evening peak already buy season tickets or anytime fares and won’t be affected by this change.

“They could also find their trains are less crowded.” But postcards will be distributed by the RMT at stations across the north, with the public urged to pressure MPs to sign an early Day Motion opposing the changes and calling for councillors and local authorities to register their opposition

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said the move to axe the fares was “a savage kick in the teeth for people already struggling with the burden of low pay and austerity and the fact that it has been cooked up by the Department for Transport in collusion with the privatisation pirates from Northern Rail is a warning of what’s to come.”