The British rail network must be brought back into public ownership

This week saw another price hike in rail fares. With the UK already having the highest rail fares in Europe, The Green Party calls for the British railway system to be come back into public ownership.  It has been approximated that “£1.2 billion of public money is lost each year as a direct result of privatisation and fragmentation” (1).

The Green Party has condemned the rail fare rise of an average of 6.2% announced today. Alan Francis, Green Party Transport Speaker, said, “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. 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 £1bn per year, are paid by both passengers and taxpayers. 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. “