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MP's urge rail travel reform

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8169529.stm
The rail franchise system is "a muddle" which allows train companies to "take advantage" of passengers and needs reform, a report by MPs has warned.

Why has it taken so long for someone in power to realise this? How come an 11% rise in fare costs on some routes, only now in a recession, is seen as a problem. This has been going on for years, we have been taken for a ride for years in regards of inflation busting rail fairs.

It mentions that customers go out of their way to try and find cheap fairs etc, yeah I suppose the operators would lose out a little if it would make it easier, though I think more people would use the trains if it wasnt so expensive in some cases.

Personally for example I looked at single train tickets to Leicester from Durham, on the face of it it was £67 (via sheffield) then £80 via peterborough. If I did a split ticket via peterborough it came to £42. The most amazing thing was booking a single to Melton Mobray, which would involve going through sheffield and changing at Leicester (ie i could just not do the last leg of the journey) and that came to £35, for a longer journey over the same route!

It just shows to me the ineptitude of public office at times, I guess they dont notice the costs of something like rail travel when they can claim it all back.

I wonder how many times the average MP has got a train and sat in cattle class in the space between carriages, because while they paid for a ticket at an overpriced cost, yet didnt get a seat.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well, to be fair, Lord Adonis recently spent a week travelling up and down the country by train to measure what the service was like on an average basis.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well thats something I didnt know about. Good that someone cares enough to do something like that for once.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    Well, to be fair, Lord Adonis recently spent a week travelling up and down the country by train to measure what the service was like on an average basis.

    Well isn't it nice that one out of over 1000 people who's job involves travelling to and from London every week actually uses public transport for the journey. Why are they all not using public transport all the time?

    I've had to travel down South once already and I've got two more trips in the next couple of months, and in every case the car has won out.....again.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The car usually wins out because people look at the cost of petrol versus the cost of the train fare. They don't take into account the overheads associated with running a car- insurance, maintenance, wear and tear, depreciation- which would give a much more balanced view of whether public or private transport is best.

    The biggest problem in this country is that funding for the roads is "investment" whereas funding for the railways is "subsidy". That's why the railways are expected to pay for themselves- and that means higher fares to pay for the trains and infrastructure- whilst road charging would be political suicide. The costs of maintaining the roads is much higher than the revenue from road and petrol duty- pass those costs on to motorists and nobody would use the car ever again.

    As for the advance purchase system, advance purchase tickets are not available from all stations to all stations. This is because AP tickets are created by individual operators and not all operators have created AP tickets that link with other operators. Melton Mowbray is a connection from Peterborough so National Express offer AP tickets route Peterborough but not route Leicester. However I don't think £75 return to Leicester is particularly bad value, I couldn't drive there for much less, just in terms of petrol.

    I don't agree that AP tickets are hard to find. National Express' website lists tickets by price and by operator and they have a tool which shows you the cheapest trains on any given day or week. It has much better search functions than Ryanair's website, say.

    As for the car being cheaper for long journeys, it depends on where you are going. However a return to London from Durham for next Monday is £158.25 if you want to be there before 9am and return at 5.30pm, or £93.50 if you want to be there before 10am. I have one of the most economical cars on the market and petrol alone would cost me in the region of £80, before I'd even found somewhere to park it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    The car usually wins out because people look at the cost of petrol versus the cost of the train fare. They don't take into account the overheads associated with running a car- insurance, maintenance, wear and tear, depreciation- which would give a much more balanced view of whether public or private transport is best.
    Not really, because most people aren't comparing the cost of owning a car to the cost of using a train, they're comparing the cost of using a car to the cost of using a train. You pay your road tax and insurance whether you use your car every day or once a month.
    Kermit wrote: »
    As for the car being cheaper for long journeys, it depends on where you are going. However a return to London from Durham for next Monday is £158.25 if you want to be there before 9am and return at 5.30pm, or £93.50 if you want to be there before 10am. I have one of the most economical cars on the market and petrol alone would cost me in the region of £80, before I'd even found somewhere to park it.
    Well I have a habit of going down south and coming back on a Sunday (parking is cheaper too, and there's no congestion charge). And on the train, it not only takes twice as long on Sunday, but you have to pay about twice as much of the privilage. And that's before you even consider taking passengers along. IME, the car beats the train pretty often when it's just the one person. The second you add a second person, it doesn't stand a chance.

    The only time I like trains is when you don't have to change over, which isn't very often for me. I can get to Manchester, but that's about it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    The biggest problem in this country is that funding for the roads is "investment" whereas funding for the railways is "subsidy". That's why the railways are expected to pay for themselves- and that means higher fares to pay for the trains and infrastructure- whilst road charging would be political suicide
    That's why the railways should be both renationalised and financed to the full. AFAIK most other countries- certainly in Europe- view the building or upgrading of railway lines as investment (as they should). Railways should exist to provide service, not profits for companies.

    And they should be of a standard that brings prosperity and attracts business to the country. That's why we also need to build a true high speed line to the North. Not only would the line eventually pay for itself but would generate extra investment, bring the UK into the 21st century transport-wise, and reduce domestic air travel.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yay for a good rail link to the north!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think aladdin hits the nail on the head that long term, we are becoming a commuter and transport culture, cars wont be able to fulfill this role in the way they always have, and we need to invest in improving substainable public transport for the future so we don't stagnate.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote:
    That's why the railways should be both renationalised and financed to the full. AFAIK most other countries- certainly in Europe- view the building or upgrading of railway lines as investment (as they should). Railways should exist to provide service, not profits for companies.

    Most railway networks in Europe are now privatised. Deutsche Bahn is a private company, NedRail is a private company. The problem isn't privatisation in itself: as an example, since privatisation the Newcastle-London service has doubled, the Manchester-Leeds service has doubled and the Manchester-London service and the Birmingham-London service have trebled.

    The main issue we have in the UK is at Governmental level. We have a Government who will only offer short leases to franchisees, will only give franchises out to the highest bidder and will then prescribe down to the tiniest detail what those franchisees can and cannot do. A franchisee can't even buy one new train without permission from the Government, which defeats the whole point of a privatised network. Because of this, the franchisees are little more than contractors, and their status as contractors means that we're privatising profit and nationalising risk.

    The worst thing that could happen to the UK's railways is that we see them re-nationalised. DafT have proven they can't run a bath. Leave the private companies to get on with it, award 20-year leases with a robust service level agreement, and take it from there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aren't all of the European ones run by a single private company though?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    And I'd imagine a lot more regulated than the British ones, with fares that don't make would-be-travellers' eyes water.

    I guess I could live with a private company running the railways Kermit if it was run like the likes of Germany. But it ain't. It is run British style. Which means too little too late investment, massive relunctance to invest in new lines and high speed routes (even the economic powerhouse that is Portugal is about to start building its own high speed network- Britain is being left in some brilliant company when it comes to its railway network!), and private companies that take the principle of 'profits first' to unprecedented levels, fucking the passengers every which way in the process. And with the government bailing the cunts at every opportunity too.

    So, whether it's public or private run, we certainly need a clean slate design when it comes to managing the network. And that would mean one company running the lot, the building of new lines including high speed, and a rise in taxes to bring tickets down.

    And the likes of National Express can go fuck themselves. Too bad they won't send their proprietors to jail for breach of contract.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    In Germany contracts are awarded on a tender basis, as happens in the UK. Deutsche Bahn are the main contract holder, but Arriva and Veolia also have contracts in Germany to run commuter and intercity trains. But even in Europe things aren't perfect: in Berlin, 75% of the Stadtbahn (commuter train) fleet is out of service following a derailment.

    The actual train operating companies (TOC) profits aren't that high, typically about 5%. The problem is that most intercity operators have had to agree to pay ridiculous sums to the Government for the right to run trains: National Express had to agree to pay £1.4bn over five years and First agreed a similar amount for their Great Western franchise. Someone has to pay for that, and that's why NX East Coast and East Anglia charge you £2.50 to reserve a seat.

    In public transport generally I think profiteering is rampant and Stagecoach's bus profit margin is nearly 20%. But the profiteering on the railways in the UK doesn't go for the benefit of the TOCs, it goes to the Government.

    My firm belief is that high speed rail in the UK would not be the panacea that many people think it would be. The trains can only run that fast on purpose-built tracks and have to go onto the old tracks when they approach cities. That's fine in France and Spain, when it can be 150 miles between cities, but not so good in the UK.

    The options would either be expensive tunnelling, as happened for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, or expensive compulsory purchase orders to bulldoze the new tracks through densely populated areas. And that's before we even consider the topography of the UK: a high-speed line through the Scottish borders, on either coast, would be horrendously expensive.

    The cost of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was just under £6bn for just 67 miles of track, mostly across the flat Kentish plains. On that basis, it could cost £1bn for every ten miles of high speed track- £45bn-£50bn for a simple London-Edinburgh line following the current east coast main line, more if you divert to Leeds, Nottingham or Sheffield. Tough to justify that sort of expenditure, IMHO.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    Most railway networks in Europe are now privatised. Deutsche Bahn is a private company, NedRail is a private company. The problem isn't privatisation in itself: as an example, since privatisation the Newcastle-London service has doubled, the Manchester-Leeds service has doubled and the Manchester-London service and the Birmingham-London service have trebled.

    The main issue we have in the UK is at Governmental level. We have a Government who will only offer short leases to franchisees, will only give franchises out to the highest bidder and will then prescribe down to the tiniest detail what those franchisees can and cannot do. A franchisee can't even buy one new train without permission from the Government, which defeats the whole point of a privatised network. Because of this, the franchisees are little more than contractors, and their status as contractors means that we're privatising profit and nationalising risk.

    The worst thing that could happen to the UK's railways is that we see them re-nationalised. DafT have proven they can't run a bath. Leave the private companies to get on with it, award 20-year leases with a robust service level agreement, and take it from there.


    Amen to that!:yippe:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It seems the government has had a rethink and now wants to go the high speed rail way...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/04/high-speed-rail-adonis

    Given the Tories are also advocating this, so long as the next government does not back down on this, it looks as if we will finally join the high speed league in Britain :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yes!
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    The Government always releases these 'plans' and nothing comes of it! I'd love to see where this bankrupt country is going to get the money from! I'm also not sure how many people from the Midlands will pay the extra to knock 10 minutes off a 75 minute journey time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If a line from Birmingham to London gets built for £7bn I'll eat my hat. It cost £6bn to build High Speed One, and train fares are higher on HS1 too...
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    £6bn for 68 miles and 24 chains - they'll never ever do 112 miles for £7bn.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This sounds interesting, but couldnt the bank of england just print more money electronically :P
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Bumped because there are some encouraging news today:
    OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PUBLIC WANTS THE RAILWAYS RENATIONALISED

    There is overwhelming support among the public for Britain's railways to be renationalised, a survey has revealed.

    Seven out of 10 supported the return of the rails to public ownership, while only 23% backed their continued privatisation.

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Britains-Railway-Renationalised-RMT-Union-Survey-Shows-Public-Support-For-End-Of-Privatisation/Article/200909215380873


    There is hope for us all yet :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm skeptical about this survey for many reasons:

    The survey was paid for by the RMT. The RMT is run by Bob Crow. Bob Crow is a fat bald Cockney cunt.

    The survey was paid for by the RMT. The RMT lost much of it's power after privatisation, as it was no longer possible to have national strikes. RMT members suddenly had to work for a living and couldn't strike every time they didn't get a 27% payrise.

    The survey was paid for by the RMT. The RMT's stated aim is to have national bargaining power- meaning national strikes- taking us back to the dark ages of the 1970s.

    The survey was paid for by the RMT. Like with everything else the RMT publishes, there are fewer lies in an MP's expenses claim.

    Oh, and the survey was paid for by the RMT.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    I'm skeptical about this survey for many reasons:

    The survey was paid for by the RMT. The RMT is run by Bob Crow. Bob Crow is a fat bald Cockney cunt.

    That got a genui-LOL. I don't even know anything about Bob Crow. :D
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    Completely agree with Kermit, I wouldn't agree with an RMT report on nationalisation if you paid me.
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