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The Laz Word: Fare enough?

Merseyrail puts up prices by 25 per cent, but we'll have to take it on the chin, says Larry Neild

Published on October 27th 2008.


The Laz Word: Fare enough?

IN an age of climate change and, as I call it, global colding, we’re all encouraged to do our bit for Mother Earth. Leave the car at home and walk to work, or go by public transport.

Over in Manchester, they will soon be voting on whether they should have a congestion charge. Anyone joining the daily crawl in the snail-speed “fast lane” on the M62 will make up their own minds about the rights and wrongs of paying to get into the capital of the North West, and then paying to get out at home time.

Liverpool, too, can have a congestion charge, but first it needs a Manchester-style economy to generate the traffic that justifies it. Until then we’ll have to make do with coming and going into and out of Liverpool city centre for free.

At least we have a reasonably good public transport system, even though we didn’t get Merseytram. But then Manchester hasn’t got anything to match Merseyrail, the busiest provincial rail network in the country.

What my pea-sized brain has never quite grasped is this: they want us to avoid using our cars and instead use public transport. Yet, generally, train travel is much dearer at peak times. Travel off-peak and the fare goes down. I mean, shouldn’t it be cheaper to travel at peak times to encourage more to travel by public transport?

I was making more and more use of Merseyrail, and what did they go and do? Put up the fares of course. For instance, the return ticket from Aigburth to the city centre has gone from £1.95 to £2.50. That’s an wallet-guzzling 25 per cent rise. Nothing like a bit of encouragement, I say, paying around £130 extra a year to get to and from work.

Should we invest in cycles and apply a bit of pedal power to the big green debate? Cycling is not really a viable proposition for many people in this city, mainly because you will be risking life and limb. Suffering saddle soreness as well as computer screen fatigue is just too much.

So the car will continue to rule supreme, aided and abetted by higher train fares no doubt.

It’s incredible to think we are told to quit our cars to save humanity, while at the same time zillions of people in India and China can’t wait to get their hands on a brand-new set of wheels. For newcomers to the roads, even a traffic jam is a novelty.

I guess if everyone in Liverpool gave up their cars and accepted higher rail fares to get to work, Earth would probably last a an hour or two longer.

So King Kar will continue to rule supreme, and even if they ever did throw a congestion charge our way, it would still be numero uno. I know people who would give up their dinner money rather than give up their commuter car trip.

I also realise we’re on a hiding to nothing. Things have to change for the sake of the planet, and some may say we’ve already left it too late.

Maybe that 55p a day extra on a Merseyrail ticket is cheap when the alternatives are considered.

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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Professor ChucklebuttyOctober 27th 2008.

And that comment that "King Kar will continue to rule supreme" Well no sir! Not if we follow the example of the Spanish Government in their bid to reduce road congestion. It may only be a small difference but it was given full support from the head of their Royal Family, King One Car less of Spain

Oh Mr. PorterOctober 27th 2008.

If travelling by train you wish to see the Biennial Pavilion and encounter the glowing erections of Luis and Juan Pelaez, then I strongly advise you to get off at Edge Hill...

Ordinary DriverOctober 27th 2008.

I agree with Laz. People will continue to use their cars. I know I will. I mean look at the p****** awful weather. Who on earths wants to hang around bus stops and cold train stations. The only way to drag the likes of me from the leather seat of my nice and warm car is to make public transport virtually free.Higher fares, congestion charges, expensive to park, etc. It all adds up on a secret way of taxing the individual to get to work, and then taxing them again for the work they do.Lets get back to horses and carts.

Father ChucklebuttyOctober 27th 2008.

Dig, do try to refrain from transferring your lewd mind processes to me! Pull off indeed! The phrase I would have used, which I believe is the correct terminolgy, and one that would have avoided any smutty double entendre is 'The drivers pull out at the last minute.'

DigOctober 27th 2008.

The buses by Kirkby train station are very entertaining if someone is running to catch one. I think the drivers have all agreed that they'll wait until the person is yards away from the door gasping for breathe then pull away. I was going to say pull off but somebody (I'm looking at you Prof) would have a field day with that one.

Tony ChristieOctober 27th 2008.

Show me the way to Amarillo...or has the fare gone up by 25% to get there too?

DigOctober 27th 2008.

How can they justify 25%? All that has changed or been improved recently is Sandhills. On my way to work this morning I noticed a bus with a big ad on the side promoting their £1 to Town trip. To Town from where I don't know. I didn't catch that much. It would be nice that 25% price hike is to rebuild The Dockers Umbrella, or, at least a part of it for historical and memorial reasons.

TroglodyteOctober 27th 2008.

Liverpool already has a congestion charge. It is called the Tunnel Tolls. Without them the tunnels and the approach roads would be even more congested than they are at present. See how parts of Liverpool become gridlocked for hours if there is even just a small crash or other incident in the tunnel

Watching with interest ratesOctober 27th 2008.

Maybe they are planning to revive the tram with the money? or maybe they are planning a new rail link with Oldham, so that workers can get to the Oldham Echo more easily when they empty everybody out of the Old Hall Street building and redevelop that absolutely prime piece of waterfront land into a proper building at massive profit to someone else. Some of this may be fantasy, I bet the last bit is true.

AndyOctober 27th 2008.

Fares from Bromborough to Liverpool have gone up by 25% too. The signs at the station say that this was to bring them in line with the change to anytime/offpeak/advance tickets. However on the national rail website (www.nationalrail.co.uk/…/simple_fares.html…) it specifically states that fares will not go up as part of this change. I assume this is to pass the buck for the increases from merseyrail to the national ticket changes. Has there been any justification for the fare increases?

Victoria ParkerOctober 27th 2008.

Liverpool buses are brilliant and regular compared to the shambles that passes for bus 'services' in Wirral! No numbers on the back or sides of buses, infrequent, short operating hours (most seem to finish by 6pm!) and route changes/discontinuations without warning. No wonder everyone there drives!

AnonymousOctober 27th 2008.

My own elderly mother ended up half way down the aisle of a bus recently, with a dislocated knee, after the bus driver ended up doing an emergency stop in a GRIDLOCK of all things on West Derby Road. Funnily enough, everyone on the bus was screaming "get the compo", the driver was ****ting himself in tears and my mum decided she "didn't want to get him into trouble". She is still hurting three weeks later, but the point here is, the buses are ****.

Tony ChristieOctober 27th 2008.

I agree. The buses are completely pointless on Merseyside and have got increasingly worse since deregulation with crap, unwieldy routes that service nobody. I would never dream of taking the bus anywhere in Liverpool, and I think most people would/do avoid them too if they can. They were never brilliant, but now they are just clogging up the dug up roads. Why can't we have the tram plan back?

DigOctober 27th 2008.

I wasn't the least bit impressed with the 'new look' Echo. Slightly different fonts. Brighter print. Articles about Lewis Hamilton and some other celeb where there used to be local news or local something or other. You can take the Echo out of Liverpool and unfortunately, it seems you can also take the Liverpool out of The Echo. What have Merseyrail said to justify the 25%? Have I missed something? I don't understand where the money is going to go. They are doing a pretty good job without it. Are we going to build a new City Centre superstation to replace the crumbling Lime Street, build a monorail loop or give every ageing station on Merseyside a facelift? No business can raise its prices by 25% without justification.

jimmy savileOctober 27th 2008.

now then now then lets get this straight i'm going to pay along with everyone else 25% more so i can sit on a cramped no toilet train that is never really clean and goes along at a snails pace to get to Chester. That sounds fair. Get new trains that you can actually sit in and not have to rest your knees on the lap of the person opposite. And when a train is running late actually let us know. As for the theme of brown for the seating in the stations at lime street, james street etc..who ever thought that would look good needs to be taken outside and shot!As for cycling the city like everywhere else is not designed to accommodate cyclists. Tried it nearly got killed twice from a taxi driver and a bus driver.Both of whom decided to have a go at me because it was my fault they weren't using there mirrors????Bus driver put me into the railings on london road tried complaining and nothing came of it. "You have to die for anyone to take notice" Or something along those lines the girl more or less said.

Oldhall2OldhamOctober 27th 2008.

Around 20 printers are likely to make the daily trek from Oldhall St to Oldham to print the 'new look' Echo. The use of grey shade print is extensively used in modern media, so it is not exactly original. My pals on the upper floor at OldHall Street are awaiting potentially grim news about the editorial arrangements that will likely have a bigger impact on the Echo than the place where it is printed. Lets hold our breath!!!

“Will it jerk me off?”October 27th 2008.

. The assembled press corps within earshot collapsed helpless, much to her bewilderment.

Font of all knowledgeOctober 27th 2008.

I always find that the way to become a little greener is become eco-li friendly

South RoadOctober 27th 2008.

I suppose it's inflation. My monthly railpass has stayed the same price, but I'm a regular commuter. If I was a family of four going into town on Saturday it would be £8.50 from Waterloo, which makes the NCP suddenly look very attractive.

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