Matt's Crow Country: Privatisation of trains a strain
PUBLISHED: 10:01 28 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:05 11 May 2010
WHY is it that when a public service is privatised, we the public end up getting short-changed? Whenever the private sector gets involved in running our country, profits suddenly become more important than public satisfaction. That s totally wrong if you
WHY is it that when a public service is privatised, we the public end up getting short-changed?
Whenever the private sector gets involved in running our country, profits suddenly become more important than public satisfaction.
That's totally wrong if you ask me, and when it comes to trains, it seems the House of Commons transport select committee agree with me.
In a scathing report released this week, committee chairman Louise Ellman said: "There is no point involving the private sector if companies can cream off the profits in good times, but leave passengers and tax payers to pick up the bill when hard times hit.
"We are concerned about cuts - there have already been cutbacks at booking offices and the loss of jobs on the railways," she said.
Of course, the good folk of Crow Country already know all too well about this. Over the last year we've seen car parking charges introduced at our stations, along with cuts in ticket office opening hours.
That's not to say there haven't been improvements too, and longer trains and platforms at Royston station are testament to this. But for a lot of people, especially those using village stations, it must seem like they are paying more for less.
I fail to see the point of privatisation when there is only one operator running each route.
If you want to travel from Royston or Melbourn or Ashwell to London, you have no choice but to take a First Capital Connect train. As they have a captive audience with no choice in the matter, where is the incentive to keep prices down, or provide a good service? We all like to moan about the trains, but at the end of the day we still use them in the absence of other options.
I think the way the rail network operates needs to be seriously looked into. At the moment ticket prices are going up at well above the rate of inflation, and in these credit-crunched times that is just not acceptable.
And if it means a return to the days of good old British Rail, then so be it!