Rail fares will not increase for the next five years in the town under the Liberal Democrats’, the party has said.

The Lib Dems says an elected Government would cancel the 2.8 per cent rail fare increase planned for December 2019 and freeze fares for Watford commuters and season ticket holders.

The party says this would save season ticket holders travelling from Watford Junction to London £1,438 over the next five years.

And the Lib Dems’ believe Kings Langley commuters would save £1,486 and Bushey passengers £1,139. The party says the policy is expected to cost around £1.6 billion.

In addition to their pledge, the party says it would ensure all rail franchises apply delay repay compensation for delays of 15 minutes or more.

And the party says it will overhaul ticketing by simplifying the system and look to create season tickets for part-time commuters and introducing early-bird fares.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Watford, Cllr Ian Stotesbury said: “I commute every day from Watford and so I know all that well that commuters have been catastrophically let down. People are paying way over the odds for what has often been an appalling service.

“The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future by freezing fares from Watford, Bushey and Kings Langley to London for the next five years, saving local commuters thousands of pounds. Not only that but I will continue to fight for the Mayor of London to rezone Watford stations into Zone 6. At the moment, it is totally unfair that residents in Watford pay over £1000 a year to travel the same distance as someone living in Epping or Upminster.”

Labour parliamentary candidate for Watford Chris Ostrowski said his party has been campaigning for fare freezes for years, saying that “at last the Lib Dems agree with us about the increasing cost of rail fares".

Watford Observer:

Chris Ostrowski campaigning outside Watford Junction Station

He continued: “I commute to London daily from Watford Junction so I understand it is not just the extortionate cost – it is the terribly unreliable service that needs to be tackled.

“Restoring the railways to public ownership will make sure fares are simpler and more affordable. We will ensure funds are invested back into the service.

“The freezing of fare increases will be implemented when Labour wins the general election.”

Meanwhile, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Watford Dean Russell said the Tories are “undertaking the most significant investment programme in the railways since the Victorian era”.

He added that around £48 billion has been allocated to fund railway improvements between 2019 and 2024.

Mr Russell continued: “In all, these programmes will mean new trains and better stations which will help provide better connections and stimulate growth across the country.

“And for the sixth consecutive year, the Government has frozen regulated fares in line with inflation.

“In addition, if we include non-regulated fares set commercially by train operators, annual fare increases have, since 2014, remained on average below the previous July's RPI inflation rate, which is the rate used to set the cap on regulated fares.”

Social Democratic Party candidate for the town Michael McGetrick added: “We believe that current train fares are too high and so would favour a freeze on rail fares. The best way to stabilise rail fares is to re-nationalise the railways, and this is a key SDP policy. Much of our network is owned by foreign owners, and the benefits are sucked out of the country. A re-nationalised railway would ensure that many of the benefits remain on-shore.

“The use of smart technology should mean that services can be provided more cost-effectively, and provide customers with more choice. SDP would support simplifying the ticketing system if it provides more choice to customers.”