Secretive plans to privatise UK’s best performing rail service

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.”

6 Responses to “Secretive plans to privatise UK’s best performing rail service”

  1. Si Says:

    The Metro is excellent, keep public not private.

  2. Robert Says:

    You have to ask your self , what is the reason to vote Labour is it the great leadership, is it because Labour are good at no more boom and bust, is it because Labour listens to it’s membership or the people of the country, is it because Labour has anything worthy too vote for.

    Labour it’s self will tell you the only difference between Brown and Cameron is experience the experience to deal with a down turn, well looks like perhaps inexperience might be an asset these days because experience is not doing so good.

  3. Frank Says:

    How can privatisation be more cost efficient than remaining in the public sector, private companies will only invest if they think they can get massive returns from it, so on top of paying for actually running the service money will also have to pay for profit for the company and shareholder’s dividends. So the only way to do that will be either to raise fares, or use public sector funding to pay shareholders, or to cut service making it cheaper to operate (at the expense of passengers). Look at national rail, privatisation was offered as a solution to make the network cheaper to run, but instead you see massive fare increases and the amount of public subsidy required has increased by about 4 BILLION pounds – that’s about 400% since privatisation!

  4. charliemarks Says:

    Exactly, Frank. The Metro should be taken as an example to be followed rather than an exception to be “corrected”.

    In the rest of the sector, rail firms are making cutbacks and hiking prices. The government has decided to lower the subsidy it pays to private train operators – and so they have responded by upping prices and lying that it’s to pay for improvements.

    If you compare the cost of rail travel with other European countries who still have public rail, it’s just staggering how much cheaper it is.

    Rail privatisation has been nothing more than a massive subsidy for the super-rich – people like billionaire Richard Branson have been raking it in.

  5. Keep the Metro public, say MPs and trade unions « Rebellion Sucks! = a blog for socialism & self-determination Says:

    […] Wednesday, February 4, 2009 — charliemarks More information on the campaign to keep the best performing rail service in public hands, from the TUC: There has been a strong trade union-led campaign welcoming the massive government […]

  6. Jobs for college grads Says:

    Very interesting article I love your blog keep up the good articles

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