25 July 2013

Mick Whelan has put the blame for overcrowded commuter trains firmly where it belongs – on privatisation.

More than 100,000 passengers travelling by train into London during the rush hour each morning have to stand, according to new figures from the Department for Transport. That’s one in five commuters during peak times in the morning rush hour.

The Association of Train Operating Companies, which represents the privatised, profit-taking, franchise-running firms, says simply: ‘We recognise that services remain crowded and passengers get frustrated. The industry is planning to increase seats by 2019.’

Mick said: ‘These new figures from the DfT reveal what we have said all along – that there is no long-term strategy, no long-term planning, and no long-term thinking, among the privatised train operating companies. They are only in the rail business to make a quick buck.

‘ATOC says they need another six years to get it right. But they’ve already had 18 years, since the railways were privatised, to provide enough trains for passengers to get the seat for which they have paid!

‘Privatisation of the railways has failed. Even Margaret Thatcher admitted it was one privatisation too far. Since privatisation fares have soared, taxpayer subsidies have risen, rolling stock has got older and overcrowding got worse.

‘We need – and the people in this country deserve – a properly integrated, properly managed, publicly owned railway. And these new figures from the DfT prove that point.’

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