Socialist Worker

Rail bosses richer, passengers poorer

Issue No. 1700

Rail bosses richer, passengers poorer

AN EXTRA 500 trains a day are being delayed or cancelled compared to last year. So says the most comprehensive league table detailing rail services, which was due to be published this week.

Thameslink, Merseyrail and LTS are among the 13 companies providing a worse service than last year. Virgin Trains, owned by Richard Branson and Stagecoach boss Brian Souter, is the worst rail operator.

This is despite the company increasing some fares by 50 percent since privatisation. Virgin raised the price of a standard return from London to Manchester from �96 in January 1996 to �150 in January this year.

Other companies hiking up rail fares include Thameslink, which has increased saver tickets by a average of 20 percent, and Great North Eastern, which has raised its cheap day return prices by an average of 19 percent. The government could easily bring the train operating companies to heel. It could nationalise them outright simply by refusing to renew franchises.

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Sat 10 Jun 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1700
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