From: Robert Nisbet, Regional Director, Rail Delivery Group.
Your correspondent GP Taylor highlights the level of rail fares and calls for renationalisation (The Yorkshire Post, January 2). It has been the policy of successive governments to shift the cost of funding the railway towards passengers. Whereas ticket prices in other countries are vastly subsidised, passengers here pay the full cost.
Nevertheless, private sector innovation and investment in better services and deals to suit different pockets – like the 26-30 Railcard launched yesterday - have helped double passenger numbers. This has transformed the railway’s finances - from a £2bn day-to-day operating deficit to a surplus. Taxpayers, not shareholders, are the chief beneficiary. With 7,000 new carriages and extra refurbished carriages leading to 6,400 more services coming on track by the early 2020s, this investment is bearing fruit. More and better services will benefit not only passengers but local communities and economies. The return for train operators is a margin of less than two per cent, with over 98p in every pound going back into running and improving the railway. We support the ongoing review into how the railway is run but firmly believe there is an important role for the private sector to play in running this important service.