Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/466/1844
Privatised rail bosses hike up fares
FROM JANUARY, the privatised rail companies are putting up their passengers' rail fares by well over the inflation level. The day after this was announced, Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist was invited onto BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show to talk about the rail price hike.
Dave said it was crazy, when the government were supposedly trying to reduce road transport and air transport, to let these companies put up rail prices by an average of 4.3%. The rise is even higher on some lines - Virgin are putting up their unregulated fares by an average of 6.6% and by 8% on their London-Glasgow route.
At the same time public-sector workers like nurses are told they have to limit their pay rises to 2% at the most - well under inflation. "These price rises", Dave said, "are aimed at protecting the privatised rail companies' vast profits."
The Association of Train Operating Companies - the privatised firms - said they needed more money for investment in the rail network. Yes, more money needs to go into improved services, better trains, new stations, new lines even to renovate areas hit by previous cutbacks in the rail network.
But, Dave Nellist said, if we have public investment, we need public ownership and public control. We need to reverse the privatisation of the rail network, still in place since the Tories.
"I also said that I'd been in London for the previous weekend's Socialism and on Saturday morning and Sunday evening I walked past five empty carriages reserved for the richer passengers in their first-class seats while the rest of us packed like sardines into three or four second-class carriages. This is a common occurrence travelling between cities. One thing they could do is abolish first and second classes and get improvements all round.
"But the real solution is to take the whole rail service back totally into public ownership and run it under democratic control."
In The Socialist 7 December 2006:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis