The Government yesterday confirmed that rail fares will increase by up to 3.2% in January. Local rail users will understandably be frustrated and angry at the news of yet another increase in the price of fares on our railways.
The amount by which train companies can raise regulated fees is the responsibility of the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. He has the power to cap regulated fare rises at a lower rate of inflation but he’s choosing not to.
It’s time for the Government to wake up to the pressure that rail fare hikes are putting on hard-pressed family budgets. Labour would bring our railways into public ownership to make sure that passengers are put at the heart of decision-making on our railways.
Many local residents will be aware that National Express have announced changes to some bus routes in and around South Birmingham. These changes will come into force from Sunday 22nd July and include small changes, such as timetable amendments, as well as some larger route changes.
National Express believe these changes will help to provide faster, more reliable, and more punctual journeys. However, many residents will undoubtedly be concerned about the impact that some of the changes will have on their local bus routes and ability to get around.
You can visit the National Express West Midlands website using the link below to see route-by-route information about what’s happening in the coming weeks. I have also been told by National Express that all of their buses operating in the local area will have leaflets which include details of the service changes, and that information will be provided on bus stops that are affected by the service changes. It is important that those without internet access are made of aware too of these changes so please share news of the service changes with relatives, friends and neighbours who are unable to access the changes online.
Local residents should also continue to submit their comments about the service changes. You can submit any comments, complaints and questions by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or Customer Relations National Express West Midlands, 51 Bordesley Green, Birmingham, B9 4BZ. Likewise you can contact their Customer Care team on 0121 254 7272. I will similarly be in regular contact with National Express to share the concerns and comments of constituents.
I know how important these bus routes are to local residents and, along with local Labour Councillors, I will be stressing to National Express the importance of reviewing the changes to see where things are not working as well as they should be.
This morning I was at Northfield Station to speak to rail users who are fed up by yet another increase in the price of fares on our railways.
Commuters told me of their frustration and anger as they have watched train fares surge as their wages have stagnated.
At the start of 2018, the Government and private train companies increased the price of rail fares by an average of 3.4%. This is the biggest annual increase in five years and fares have already gone up by 32% since the Conservatives entered Government in 2010.
The Government are failing to stand up for rail passengers. Labour would bring our railways into public ownership to make sure that passengers are put at the heart of decision-making on our railways and to provide the investment that our railways desperately needs.
This week is Road Safety Week, an invaluable initiative for keeping our roads as safe as possible, organised by the road safety charity Brake.
As part of Road Safety Week, I took part in an event organised by Vision Express and Brake to try out a simulator that replicates the impact of glaucoma on a driver’s field of vision in order to highlight the importance of regular eye testing for road safety.
Deterioration of eye sight can be gradual and often people won’t realise that their vision has deteriorated over time – in fact 40% of your vision can be lost without you even noticing.
Regular eye tests help to pick up changes in sight to ensure that problems can be treated to help prevent a deterioration in eye sight. Across the UK, over 2 million people are living with sight loss, 50% of which is preventable and could be addressed through regular eye check-ups.
It is a similar case for glaucoma, the single biggest preventable cause of sight loss – half of people living with glaucoma are undiagnosed – yet this could immediately be detected by an eye test.
Eye tests really do safe lives. Road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties in the UK a year.
Every person killed or injured on our roads is one too many. We all have a responsibility to identify what more we can do to make the vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads a reality.
Over 1.5 million licence holders have never had an eye test and all drivers have a responsibility to ensure that they regularly get their eyes tested.
The NHS recommend that you should get your eyes tested every two years, and more often if advised. Not only does an eye test check whether you need glasses, it can also identify a number of underlying health conditions, and makes our road safer for everyone.
You can find out more about road safety week here – http://www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/