Greens call for Britain's railways to be restored to public ownership

By staff writers
August 19, 2012

The Green Party in England and Wales has called for the British railway system to be come back into public ownership, following further price hikes.

The UK already has the highest rail fares in Europe while public money is poured in and private profits extracted, say critics of the current, dislocated system.

It has been estimated that £1.2 billion of public money is lost each year as a direct result of privatisation and fragmentation, according to Tribune magazine.

The Green Party has already condemned the rail fare rise of an average of 6.2% announced last week.

Alan Francis, the party's Transport Speaker, declared: "We need to make rail travel more affordable, not less. Many people have had their wages frozen for several years. These fare rises will hit them hard."

He continued: "This fares increase makes rail travel even more unaffordable each year and pushes people back into cars on our already congested roads. Instead of an RPI+3% formula we should have a RPI-X% formula so that fares are reduced in real terms each year."

"Rail privatisation and fragmentation has been bad for the railways and for passengers and has significantly increased costs. These higher costs, as much as £1 billion per year, are paid by both passengers and taxpayers," says Francis.

"We favour the railways being brought back into the public sector and more integration. This would reduce costs and so allow lower fares. Consequently we believe that as each TOC franchise ends it should be retained in the public sector, initially operated by the government-owned Directly Operated Railways. There would be no cost to the taxpayer, " the Green Party spokesperson concluded.


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