'Yes' campaign accused of misleading voters

Date published: 08 December 2008

Campaigners for a "No" vote claim that the "Yes" campaign are trying to mislead public transport users in a desperate attempt to win the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport referendum.

The "Yes" campaign plan to have over 100 of their supporters out this afternoon at bus stops and train stations handing out leaflets urging people "to Vote YES for lower bus fares, lower tram fares and more trains."

John McGoldrick, a spokesman for the National Alliance Against Tolls, who are one of the opposition groups, said that the "Yes" claim was promising things that would not happen.

"If the "Yes" campaign win this "Toll Poll", then it is more likely that fares will go up rather than down," he said.

"Fares will go up because the TIF money is for capital costs, not for running costs.

"They are also putting up the cost of driving by up to £5 a day, which according to the GM Future Transport website is at '2007 prices for pre-registered users' whatever that means. If drivers are paying all this extra money, are the companies more likely to put fares down, or up?

"We know that the authorities have said that they will try and bring in a discount for the "low paid". But that will not reduce fares for most users and it would be subject to the usual problems of a benefit system. It would be costly and difficult to administer, there would be fraud, and many people who need the benefit the most won't apply. This discount scheme may never see the light of day."

"We urge those who have not yet voted, not to vote "yes" for a scheme which will create one toll wall around Manchester city centre and another toll wall at the M60. This will inevitably damage business and jobs, which is the main reason that was given by the new London Mayor when on the 27th November he announced that the western half of the London scheme would be removed."

A spokesperson for the Yes campaign insisted that a yes vote in the referendum would bring cheaper public transport to the streets of Greater Manchester: "Papers to AGMA have made it clear that there will be a revised fare structure with public transport operators, run through an electronic smart card, which will ensure that, as with Oyster cards in London, the cheapest possible fare is used for every journey. Bus fares will be capped for every user.

"There will also be a 20% discount for workers on a minimum wage travelling at peak times. A Yes vote will mean more public transport, better public transport and cheaper public transport. That is why we are urging everyone who wants that transformation to vote Yes before polling closes."

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