New ORR figures reveal franchise model broken beyond repair

31 January 2019

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, has called for 'root and branch reform' of the way Britain's railway is run after the rail regulator's latest report revealed that passenger revenue has plummeted while government subsidy has soared.


New figures released today [Thursday 31 January] by the Office of Rail and Road in its annual report on rail finance 2017-18 show that falling passenger numbers means income from fares fell 2.4% year on year while taxpayer subsidy went up by 8%.


'The government has ordered a review of the rail industry,' said Mick. 'We all know the problem. And the solution. The franchise system, brought in by John Major 25 years ago, in a move which even that arch privateer Margaret Thatcher described as "a privatisation too far", isn't just flawed, it has failed.


'The reality, which everyone in the rail industry knows, is that the franchise system is broken beyond repair. It doesn't work for passengers, it doesn’t work for taxpayers, and it doesn’t work for the men and women who, every day, deliver what should be a public service, not an opportunity for a few people to make a private profit at public expense.


'It's time for the wishes of the public and passengers to be taken into account. It's time to put the wheels and the steel back together and build a vertically-integrated railway, fit for the 21st century, for the benefit of passengers, businesses, and staff. This report shows why it's time to bring Britain's railways back into public ownership and help build a better Britain.'

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