1,000 signatures reached
To: Merseytravel and Steve Rotheram, Liverpool metro mayor
Make Merseyrail Off-Peak annual travel affordable again
Without notice or consultation, Merseytravel have put the All Zones Off Peak Trio travelcard up from £457 a year to an incredible £1,294, representing an outrageous 180% price increase for commuters. When pressed for their reasons they claimed “low uptake” on the Off Peak card – no wonder really, as Merseytravel had never properly publicised it!
Out of fairness to self-employed and non-traditional workers and vulnerable and low income people, Merseytravel must reverse this massive and unjustified rise. They must reinstate a more realistic affordable ticket – and this time publicise it properly, so that local people can get the public transport they deserve at a price they can afford.
Why is this important?
This fare rise unfairly targets people who are least able to afford costly peak-hour fare: the self-employed, people who work non-traditional hours, and those on lower incomes who depend on cheaper off-peak fares to get about.
Many workers in our new economy work flexible hours, starting later in the day and working well into the evening. They often stay in town afterwards, spending money in the night-time economy and helping to make Liverpool the vibrant place it is. Cheap off-peak tickets support people who work, shop and socialise in Liverpool city centre.
“Many of my colleagues rely on off-peak travel to do their jobs,” says Stuart Harrison, who started the campaign against the unaffordable off-peak rises. “We are not well-paid but we want to work in Liverpool city centre. Now we face forking out a fortune to do so. This news is akin to a pay cut of £837 per year for everyone who previously depended on an off-peak ticket.
“Shop assistants, restaurant staff and bar workers all rely on the off-peak ticket too,” adds Stuart. “I see them on the train going home late at night. They are not well-paid but they are the hardworking people who keep Liverpool buzzing. It’s a disgrace that they’ll have to pay a lot more just to get to work.”
Affordable fares also hugely important to those with vulnerable family members. “I live and work in Liverpool city centre, but my parents live in Maghull,” says Colin Taylor, based at the Bluecoat. “They both have Alzheimer’s and I visit them around five times a week. Off-peak travel is crucial to me but I just can’t afford the new annual ticket price.”
Merseytravel starved the off-peak fare of publicity, then cruelly withdrew it claiming “lack up uptake”. What did they expect would happen? It’s time for them to admit their mistake and reverse this crazy decision.
“An extreme rise like this makes a mockery of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’,” says Stuart Harrison. “Off-peak travel might not matter to Merseyrail’s well-paid suits – but their trains will be a lot emptier after 9.30am without this ticket.”
And so will the centre of what should be Britain’s most exciting city to live and work.