The Green Party has vowed to cut an average of 10% from public transport fares and freeze the cost for the duration of the next parliament.
The General Election pledge would be paid for by diverting £9bn from the Government’s £15bn new road building programme for 2015 to 2020/21 – increasing the level of public investment in rail and bus fares by around £1.8bn a year.
In a statement released today the party added that over time it would return the railways to public ownership ‘to secure a cheaper and better service’, highlighting that senior party figure Caroline Lucas’ Railways Bill would bring franchises back into public ownership as their contracts expire.
The Bill is due to go for its second reading in the Commons this week.
As part of the Green Party plans national rail fares would be slashed by 12%, London Underground fares by 10% and fares for London and UK bus services cut by 7%.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, told the BBC: ‘This investment of £1.8bn would offer an enormous help to Britons to as they travel between communities, to work, to meet up with friends and relatives, and would help us relieve the national reliance on carbon-intensive forms of transport.
‘The £9bn investment would be paid for by scrapping most of this government's indefensible £15bn road-building programme, leaving £6bn for further transport programmes.’
The party stressed the cuts to the planned roads investment programme would not affect road repairs or safety improvements to existing roads.
Regulated fares this year increased by 2.5% while the overall average rise for all fares was 2.2%.
Campaigners claim fares have increased by over 20% since 2010 and Labour has called for a public right to cheapest tickets and ‘a strict cap’ on ticket prices.
Government ministers have said that any rise in ticket prices is ‘regrettable’ but necessary for investment.