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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Britain's privatised railways: They're not getting there

The Daily Mail reports:

Commuters faced a nightmare journey home tonight as London's transport network ground to a halt in the face of snow and freezing conditions.
Passengers at Victoria Station were told all trains into and out of the terminal were cancelled while other services around the capital were severely reduced.
In angry scenes, passengers at Victoria remonstrated with station staff demanding more information.
One passenger, who asked not to be named, said: 'It was hellish. Every platform had a train on but they were going nowhere.
'When we were finally allowed on one it was completely filled and arguments were breaking out everywhere. I cannot believe this is happening again.'

I don’t know about you, but I can believe anything as far as Britain’s privatised railways are concerned.

It’s interesting to compare the way that Britain’s privatised railways grind to a halt as soon as there’s some snow, with how the state-run European railways, like Austria’s , cope with wintry conditions. But of course, as the ever so-clever and ever so well-educated British neoliberals keep telling us, private ownership is far more efficient than state ownership, isn’t it?


Chris H said...

They can't get back into public ownership fast enough for me.

Neil Clark said...

Me too. And the vast majority of the public want to see the railways renationalised as well. But kapital doesn't. If Britain was a democracy, they'd be renationalised tomorrow, but as Saki wrote, we are only what is called a democracy.

Chris H said...

A democracy in name only. I suppose that until, or if we ever become a truly representative democracy then we'll always be defending rather than taking the offensive.

Waxyll said...

It’s interesting to compare the way that Britain’s privatised railways grind to a halt as soon as there’s some snow

...with Britain's publicly-owned railways twenty-odd years ago when the phrase "the wrong type of snow" first passed into the language.

Because when you do, you'll quickly realise that the level of incompetence was more or less identical.

For the past two days, I've had to work from home because my usual train hasn't been running. But twenty years ago, I had to shack up with a cousin who lived near my workplace after my regular line shut down for a whole week. And this was in London, not Scotland.

So how would renationalisation tackle these problems, when British Rail clearly didn't have a clue how to solve them in the past?

vladimir gagic said...

In the Arizona Republic today: If you think privatized railways is bad, things in Arizona are much, much worse. At least in the UK there is public health care, but now, common, everyday Arizonans are going to die because, in the name of austerity, the state will no longer fund organ transplants for poor Arizonans. That means a death sentence for these patients. Apparently, the deficit is no problem when it comes to funding bombs and Wall Street bonuses, but funding organ transplants is an unnecessary luxury.