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Friday, April 25, 2008

More railway rip-offs on their way

The Times reports:
Passengers will lose out from a decision by train companies to stop giving refunds for tickets bought in advance and to double the fee for changes to journey times.
The move is part of what the companies are calling a simplification of rail fares into three main types, which they claim will be easier to understand. More than a million leaflets will be distributed at stations from today explaining the changes but they fail to mention that many passengers will be worse off under the new national refunds policy.

Britain's rail passengers worse off? Who'd ever have thought it!

Britain's rail misery will never end until two important steps are taken. The first, is to restore the whole railway network into public ownership. The second is to scrap 'market' pricing and instead introduce the simple distance-based pricing system which operates in the rest of Europe. In Belgium for instance, train fares don't go up at peak times, the Belgian State Railways simply lays on more trains. It really isn't rocket science.

Britain's privatised railway nightmare, with its extortionate fares and complicated, user-unfriendly ticketing is a classic example of what happens when government ditches common sense and instead follows the recommendations of neoliberal fanatics.
"We propose things which people regard as being on the edge of lunacy. The next thing you know, they're on the edge of policy"
once boasted Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute. Yes, but it still doesn't stop them from being on the edge of lunacy, Madsen.


David Lindsay said...

Given that the railways were only ever "privatised" on the understanding that their profits would be guaranteed by public subsidy, their shareholders have already been more than compensated enough for renationalisation to take place without further compensation.

The railways could then form the core of a national network of public transport, free at the point of use, including the re-opening of bus route and (where possible) rail line closures going back to the 1950s.

Or do we only ever have the money for wars and to rescue banks, both permanent commitments, whatever anyone might say to the contrary?

Davros said...

The railways will never be renationalised, that would make too much sense and would render our public transport system actually usable, to the financial detriment of snouts-in-troughs.

Neil Clark said...

davros: the case of railway renationalisation tells you where the power lies in our country and how undemocratic we really are. The vast majority of people support renationalisation (including a majority of Tory voters), yet none of our leading three parties advocate such a measure.

(and the fact, as david lindsay says, that we do have money for wars and to rescue banks is further evidence of where the power lies).