Labour MP calls for public transport to be made free to ease cost of living crisis

A Labour MP has called for the UK to follow Spain in providing free public transport to help ease the cost of living burden.

Left Foot Forward reports that Richard Burgon Labour MP tweeted: “Spain’s President yesterday announced that train journeys will be free on short and medium journeys to help with the cost of living crisis. He’s also introducing a tax on banks because they’re profiting from higher interest rates. Let’s fight for that here too!”

In a bid to help people with spiralling living costs, the Spanish government has announced train travel on state-owned rail networks will be free of charge from September 1 until the end of the year.

Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez has said that passengers will be able to travel on a number of trains operated by the public train network Renfe at no cost. Multi-journey tickets for local and medium-distance journeys will be free. The initiative excludes single-journey tickets or long-distance travel, according to reports.

Plans to fully subsidise many state-owned Renfe services follows the government’s earlier slashing of the cost of travel on public transport in response to rising energy and inflation rates. A 50% discount on Renfe train tickets was introduced in June.

In a statement, the Spanish ministry of transport said: “This measure encourages to the maximum the use of this type of collective public transport to guarantee the needed daily commute with a safe, reliable, comfortable, economic and sustainable means of transportation, amid the extraordinary circumstances of the steady increase of energy and fuel prices.”

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez said the move is aimed at easing the cost of living crisis.

‘I am fully aware of the daily difficulties that most people face. I know that your salary is getting less and less, that it is difficult to make ends meet, and that your shopping basket is becoming more and more expensive.

‘I am going to work my skin to the bone to defend the working class of this country,” he said.

Spain is not the first European country to announce reduced transport costs to tackle rising fuel prices, inflation and a cost of living crisis.

In May, Germany announced unlimited €9 per month tickets for public transport. The scheme includes all public transport across Germany and runs for three months to the end of August.

The cheap tickets are aimed at offsetting the soaring price of fuel and ease the impact of inflation by getting people to avoid using their cars.


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