Sunday, February 22, 2009

CPO Press Release on New Passenger Focus Report


As if we didn't know. The new Passenger Focus report says that Britain's walk-on rail fares are, on average 50% higher than in the rest of Europe. The report, commissioned by the British government, is a searing indictment of our railway system.

The biggest difference between our railways in Britain, with that of the continent is of course, ownership. Ours are owned by profit hungry plcs who want to make as much profit as possible. There's nothing surprising, or shocking about this- profit maximisation is what plcs are about.

In Europe though, railways are still run as a public service. That's why there are always enough carriages - and trains- at rush-hour. And why fares are much. much lower.

Calling for renationalisation of the railways isn't a 'hard-left' position-the privatisation of the railways was opposed by many Tories, including the former Cabinet minister Sir Ian Gilmour, who called the plan 'crazy'. And opinion polls show that a clear majority of Tory voters favour renationalisation. Yet incredibly not one of our three main parties advocates renationalisation, even though such a move would save taxpayers money: the British state is currently paying four times more in subsidy to the private rail operators than it paid to British Rail in its final years.

It’s ironic that Passenger Focus’ report is released in a week when it was announced that Ronnie Biggs could be released this summer from jail. Biggs’ train robbery pales into insignificance compared to the Great Train Robbery that privatisation represents.

The Campaign for Public Ownership calls for the immediate renationalisation of Britain’s railways and the reintroduction of a simple, easy to understand distance-based pricing system.

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