Rail overcrowding to get worse, warn MPs

Commuters face increases in "already unacceptable overcrowding levels," warns MPs' report.

Rail passengers face "substantial increases in already unacceptable overcrowding levels" by 2014 and beyond, a report by MPs has warned. The Department for Transport's latest plans show that all relevant targets for increasing the number of passenger places on trains by March 2014 will be missed.

The report said it is "not clear to passengers where the money from increased fares has been spent".

Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge said MPs were concerned that the "already unacceptable levels of overcrowding will simply get worse and ever more intolerable".

She added: "At present there is no incentive for the rail industry to supply extra capacity without additional public subsidy.

"The DfT should, for future franchises, require operators to take measures themselves to avoid overcrowding and to meet the costs of doing so."

The report said the current round of planning had relied heavily on buying extra carriages and extending platforms to accommodate longer trains, "but this approach cannot go on indefinitely".