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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Britain's privatised railway nightmare

The Evening Standard (article not available online) reports that there will be no more carriages on Britain's overcrowded trains for 'at least three years'. The problem is that the railway companies don't own the rolling stock, which are leased to them by companies owned by banks.
Whoever could have thought up such a crazy system? The answer is these people. For the ideological fanatics at the Adam Smith Institute, railway privatisation has been a 'success'. 'Fares have been capped and are falling in real terms'. Have any members of the ASI ever travelled by train in Britain?
Perhaps one of the ASI's great brains could explain why a next day peak-time ticket 200 mile return journey costs £202 in the country which followed their advice, but just £23.83 in Belgium, a country which didn't? And why people who pay thousands of pounds for a season ticket are not even guaranteed a seat and often have to stand in toilets?

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