Privatised railways remain absolute rip-off

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From: Pete Redwood, Kilnwick Percy Hall, Pocklington.

I HAVE just booked a train ticket from Poitiers to Paris in France on the flagship TGV Atlantique.

For a distance of 342km (212 miles) it has cost me just £18 for a standard fare ticket, including a comfortable seat in an airy carriage. The first class option was £28.

In comparison I have also booked my ticket from London to York. I was able to book a “super-advanced” ticket for £33 for a 281km journey. I was also told, in big red letters, that “there are no seats available for reservation on this train”.

The standard fare was quoted as £78 and the first class fare at £177.50.

Presumably if I had paid the full fare I could have booked a seat – or maybe not!

It is about time the railways were brought under control under not-for-profit ownership to stop this absolute rip-off. And no I don’t mean run by the Government – they can’t run anything! As independent companies, they should run services for the public good with profits paid into improving the service instead of paid into shareholders bank balances and fat-cat directors bonuses.

All rail companies recorded an increase in profits of well over 30 per cent following the last round of fare increases and only recently Tom O’Toole CEO of First Group (TransPennine Express) was awarded a stunning £592,000 in bonuses.

Currently, the Government pays £1.2bn a year in subsidies to the railway companies. Network Rail is quoted as being £20bn in debt and paying £1.4bn of the taxpayers’ money in interest each year. And yet Network Rail bosses have been awarded in excess of £600,000 in bonuses. Private enterprise for public services does not work. Private enterprise serves private profit not public service.