This morning, Crawley Labour activists were speaking with commuters at Three Bridges Station about the Tory rail mayhem, supported by Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Kate Osamor MP.
An increasing number of Crawley residents depend upon the railways to get to work, yet at the same time the quality of the service has never been worse. This shouldn’t be a surprise, the design of the current franchise means that the railway companies can only make money by cutting costs (savings which aren’t passed-on to passengers), not by improving the quality of services.
Re-nationalising the railways isn’t a magic bullet, but the current rail monopoly gives power to companies who have no incentive to making things better. By taking railways back into public ownership we make them accountable to the public again and stop the buck passing which has allowed the current chaos to develop. If we just wait for the current franchise agreements to lapse, it doesn’t even have to cost taxpayers a penny.
Railway mayhem isn’t inevitable, it’s the result of bad planning, bad business practice and bad political decisions, all of which can be changed. If the Tories won’t listen to reason, then it’s time for Labour to get on with the job.