Passengers take the strain

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IF the Government wants to persuade people to use the car less and public transport more, they need to make it affordable.

Rail fares have increased by an average of 26.6 per cent in the past four years, far outstripping the amount pay packets have gone up.

And they are about to go up again by more than the rate of inflation in January.

It is cheaper to get a flight to Europe than it is to travel on some of our main rail routes - it is a scandal.

We understand the Government wants to cut the amount of subsidy to train operators - why should private companies be given that level of helping hand. But there seems little acknowledgement that allowing inflation-busting ticket price increases serves to deter people from letting the train take the strain - especially as on some trains there is standing room only.

Train operators claim they need to increase prices to invest. It would be good to see some of that profit they make reinvested into cheaper rail tickets.

Change of heart needed on safety

ONE of the problems with living in rural communities is services such as road gritting often lack the same sense of urgency as the main highways.

Which is why the likes of farmers are worth their weight in gold to help supplement the gritting operation, clearing snow from blocked roads and hauling vehicles out of ditches after they have lost control.

And that is precisely the sort of service that Graham Dyson, of Fox Hagg Farm, has been carrying out for the past 30 years.

That is, until road contractor Amey contacted him to tell him he was not to do it any more because his equipment did not meet the right standards.

Now residents are experiencing icy conditions with little or no sight of a gritter.

We understand the need for health and safety regulations, but surely it is safer to have some form of gritting rather than none at all.

Come on Amey, use your common sense.

Think of others

FORTY patients missed their operations because they did not follow nil by mouth instructions beforehand.

It is not a high number, but it means that 40 other people could have been operated on. It is a shame there is such lack of consideration for others.