Readers’ letters - February 10

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‘Train firm’s pricing policy lets them down’

I agree with the recent negative reports about Virgin Trains’ outrageous and disproportionate pricing policy travelling from Preston to London (LP February 3).

How can Virgin Trains legitimately justify charging £350 if you board the train at Preston, yet only £93 if you board the train at Lancaster, some 25 miles (10 minutes journey time ) further up the road? This is ridiculous.

I speak as a regular return business rail commuter from London to Blackpool via Preston. Fortunately, as self-employed, most of the time I can benefit from travelling with off peak pre-booked discounted fares.

However, there have been odd occasions when I have been forced to travel back to London much earlier, due to commitments, and benefitted from booking online the reduced fare from Lancaster and actually boarded the train at Preston. Luckily to date I have not been ‘nicked’ for these alleged offences.

Is it morally and legally correct for Virgin Trains to dictate to their passengers where they can board or alight their trains?

If you get off the train at Preston you must pay an additional premium, or continue to Lancaster, pay less or face being accused of fraud and police questioning.

On balance, in fairness, Virgin Trains operate an excellent West Coast service between London, Manchester and Preston. Their advanced off peak online deals are very good value.

If the rail service was not so good, I doubt I would be in a position to commute up north so regularly on business purposes.

Nonetheless I believe Virgin Trains are letting themselves down and tarnishing their good reputation by the very questionable practice of over-charging and penalising their loyal commuters to and from London by boarding or alighting at Preston.

Charging loyal regular or new customers over three and a half times more for a lesser journey, is in my view contradictory corporate greed gone mad.

Stephen Pierre

Public Transport Safety Campaigner

energy

You just couldn’t make it up...

Last Wednesday heralded a visit to the Fylde by various bodies involved in regulating shale gas extraction. It offered the chance to talk one-to-one with agencies such as the EA, HSE, PHE, OGA.

The roadshow was certainly an EA charm offensive, and seemingly designed to promote the Government line, rather than listen or act on residents’ concerns.

I did note that there was a certain amount of “I think that xyz might be responsible for that” which suggests that the agencies are not working closely together, and so problems could ‘fall between two stools’ , with no one responsible for checking or regulating.

Incidentally this is a concern that local residents have raised for some five years now, but has still not been addressed.

So, back to the roadshow. Most of the Government bodies ‘reassured’ me that the British Geological Survey (BGS) are doing independent monitoring.

I know that the BGS would be the last to claim its monitoring programme is sufficiently comprehensive, and towards the end of my visit, I spoke to LCC planners, who hadn’t asked the BGS for advice during the planning process – because they could not trust them to be independent. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up!

T Froud

Lytham

politics

We can’t condone bullying in politics

Public service is a privilege. The voters put their trust in their representatives to do the best they can to promote the well-being of all citizens in their area. Democracy is a fragile concept. Unless it is vigorously defended, it can soon fall apart.

That is why those who step into the political arena must do so with the highest of motives, with compassion for all and with no self-interest in gaining financially.

It is also important in a democracy that our representatives reflect the whole of society, and this means encouraging people to stand for office regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disabilities.

Bullying behaviour is corrosive – it undermines an individual’s self-esteem and confidence. It should have no place in democratic politics.

However, we now have one of the most powerful political leaders in the world who is, on record, making light of his sexual assaults on women – “locker-room talk”.

Let us all strive to rise above this. I urge all people in politics to discourse fully and passionately and with due respect for their colleagues. I urge all political parties not to condone bullying and to take allegations of bullying seriously. I urge all political parties to ensure women have an equal and respected voice.

Susan E. Riley,

Women’s officer

Ribble Valley Constituency Labour Party

traffic

Get rid of verge

There is always a problem with traffic waiting to turn into Royal Preston Hospital.

At busy times there is a build up of traffic, especially at the Black Bull traffic lights, with buses being stuck for three to four light changes, if not more.

A simple way to allow traffic to move more quickly would be to take away the grass verge, near to the turn into the hospital. They could put up a rail at the side to protect pedestrians, the footpath is there anyway and the verge doesn’t seem to be doing anything apart from holding up traffic. It would help the buses as the drivers get all the complaints when they are late.

Anon

traffic

I’m no fan of the ‘Chelsea tractors’

Correspondent Angela Washington has my sympathies (LP Letters, February 1). My experience with such drivers of ‘Chelsea tractors’, both male and female, is the bigger the tractor, the further up their ladders of arrogance they are. Ignore them for that’s what they are, ignorant.

Kit Rogers

Kendal

USA POLITICS

So-called President could be convicted

Interesting to note that Donald Trump referred to a US judge as a ‘so-called’ judge.

I hope the judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of one Donald Trump (so-called USA President) to answer a charge of contempt of court. Once tried and convicted, Trump would be unable to continue in office whilst a convicted offender, thereby saving the world from any further lunatic rantings and enabling normal diplomacy to return to world politics.

Rod Smith

Address supplied

nostalgia

Children’s sweet treat after rations

The Looking Back photo was given to me by John Cockran. It was taken just after sweet rationing ended, and shows children from the technical college eating sweets on Chorley market in 1951. John and his wife now live in Aspull, and would like to hear from anyone in the photo, or any of the names.

Carl Burton

via email