Anyone who has ever been on the Metro will have been struck by the contrast to our privatised railways.
As with Royal Mail, attempts to involve the private sector in this service are couched in terms of gaining “investment” and “value for money”, debate is one-sided with privatisation offered up as the only solution, and public ownership derided whatever the truth of the matter.
From the Morning Star:
Transport bosses slammed for ‘secret’ Metro plans
(Thursday 22 January 2009)
ANTI-RAIL privatisation campaigners protested at the transport authority’s failure to come clean on its plans for the Tyne and Wear Metro on Thursday.
Protesters, including members of rail union RMT, demonstrated outside a meeting of the county’s Passenger Transport Authority (PTA) in Newcastle yesterday morning before attending the meeting.
The government has pledged £300 million to “reinvigorate” the service, which is already the best-performing in Britain. But Metro operator Nexus intends to invite private-sector bids to operate passenger services and maintain infrastructure.
An ICM poll conducted for the Keep Metro Public campaign in September found that 60 per cent of residents wanted the service to be publicly run, compared to just 22 per cent who favoured private management.
RMT regional organiser Stan Herschel pointed out: “We’ve already been stopped from speaking at PTA meetings, but now the authority has failed to keep its promise to respond to questions put to it in writing.
“This is supposed to be a publicly accountable authority, yet it appears to be doing everything it can to avoid answering questions about the future of the Metro. The PTA knows that there is overwhelming support for the campaign to keep the Metro public, yet for some reason it seems to think it can get away with ignoring public opinion.”
He stressed: “The authority spends huge sums of public money and we have the right to question what is being done with it, not least when there are plans to transform our Metro into a cash cow for privateers.”