Fare Rises - Should the Railways be Renationalised?
2 January 2018)
Average rail ticket prices have risen by 3.4% across the UK. This
is the largest increase to fares since 2013.
say they are being priced out of getting to work. The Department
for Transport said price rises were capped in line with inflation.
Fare increases to regulated fares are calculated using the
previous July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.
Around half of all tickets fall under this category.
Plummer, chief executive of industry trade body the Rail Delivery
Group, said the fare changes would provide cash for better
services and investment. Figures released by the Rail Delivery
Group suggest that for every pound paid in fares, 97p goes
directly back to operating and improving services.
Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport,
accused the government of choosing to ignore rail passengers,
while fuel duty continued to be frozen. He asks that there be a
level playing field.
the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)
said the need for public ownership of the railways had "never
been more popular or necessary".
spokesman for the Department for Transport said it was investing
in the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian
times. One example is the major rebuilding of London Bridge
station which was fully reopened on the 2 January.
is nationalisation the answer?
rail network was first nationalised in 1948 and privatised again
in 1993. The Labour Party says our railways have become
inefficient and expensive. They want to see a return to public
pledge appears to resonate with the public. Two years ago, a
YouGov poll suggested half of voters would prefer trains to be run
by the public sector.
So do we
want to go back to the days of British Rail?
nationalised industry, they were under funded and inefficient and
on many routes has become a problem, but this is largely down to
Victorian infrastructure rather than any fault of the private
operators. If British Rail was around now it would be facing
exactly the same problems.
Since privatisation Train
Operating Companies have developed services and been far more
innovative than the old British Rail. This zeal of innovation on the railways has not
been seen since the Twenties and Thirties when the “Big Four”
train companies competed for passengers. This new innovation has
helped deliver a doubling in the annual number of passenger
journeys since the early Nineties.
number of passenger journeys have increased from 735 million in
1994-95 to 1.7 billion in 2015-16 (source: Office of Rail and
Road). That is as high as the 1950's. Would this have happened
under British Rail? And if so how would they have responded?
Punctuality is at a record high and
Britain can now boast the safest railways in Europe. BR’s safety
record was lamentable and regional routes were often ignored and
suffered chronic under investment. It is also worth remembering
that fares rose at an alarming rate under BR; it was not unusual
for them to rise by 5pc or 6pc a year. Under privatisation fare
rises have been pegged at less than inflation.
And what about
private investment? Private companies invested a total of £925
million in Britain’s rail network in 2016-17, the highest figure
recorded since the Office of Rail and Road’s data series began
in 2006-07. Of this figure, £767m was spent on rolling stock.
What do you
think? Give us your thoughts on our facebook