Lib Dems pledge to freeze rail fares

Freezing train fares and making unlimited travel passes available are among measures to overhaul Britain’s railways, in the Liberal Democrats’ General Election manifesto.

The party also pledged to review the cancellation of HS2 north of Manchester, and establish a new public body to “join up the industry”.

The Lib Dems said they want to make rail “a genuinely convenient, affordable and environmentally-friendly option for both passengers and freight”.

The manifesto said the party would explore “the introduction of an annual pass for all railways”.

It did not say how much they would cost for travellers.

On HS2, the Lib Dems said they would reconsider Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to axe the northern section “to see if it can still be delivered in a way that provides value for money, including by encouraging private investment, or if an alternative is viable”.

The party’s proposed new public body to take responsibility for infrastructure and train operation would be called the Railway Agency.

Other transport policies include bringing forward the ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2035 to 2030, accelerating the roll-out of public electric car chargepoints, giving local authorities more power to franchise bus services, and introducing a new “super tax” on private jet flights.

Matt Finch, UK policy manager at environmental think tank Transport & Environment, said: “These are some solid, well-thought-through commitments from the Liberal Democrats.

“They have recognised that aviation is the problem child of transport decarbonisation, and that a lot more policies are needed to address the problem.

“The commitments to address the woeful under-taxation of private jets is a bold step forward and will help contribute to strengthening the idea that polluters need to pay.

“But there is a worrying lack of acknowledgement here of the need to decarbonise shipping and trucks.

“These areas have been consistently neglected by previous governments, and right now it’s looking like the Lib Dems would carry on this trend too.”

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