2015: Jeremy Corbyn on the rail system
This welcome addition to the six policy documents has been posted belatedly, due to an overload of good material.
Getting to work, going to school, going on holiday, visiting friends and family; transport is a part of our daily lives. The problem is, on buses or trains, it’s often too expensive, over-crowded, with too few staff, or the funding has been slashed so the service is under threat.
The privatised railways of our country have made Britain the rail rip-off capital of Europe. We need affordable fares, and railways integrated with bus routes to save money and improve services.
An expansion in public transport capacity is essential if we are to tackle climate change, and we will make sure that every pound we invest creates jobs, improves infrastructure and boosts the economy. So:
- Bring Britain’s railways into public ownership.
- Raise enough money from public ownership to cut rail fares by as much as 10%.
- Create an integrated rail system, which is more accessible, more easily understood and in which passengers and staff have a real say.
- Shifting from the expensive and wasteful rolling stock leasing system to buying trains outright and using government purchasing to support UK train building.
- Greater public control over new train orders can ensure better value train manufacturing in the long run as well as enabling a more strategic approach to rolling stock that supports UK manufacturing.
- Give all councils the power to set up publicly run municipal bus companies.
- Unlock more than £500m every year to invest in increasing bus routes and capacity.
- Save 2.8bn over the next decade which would otherwise have gone directly into dividends for private shareholders in private bus companies.
These are not radical policies; in Germany, 88% of local public transport is run by publicly owned companies.
A large proportion of Britain’s railways are already run by the state – just publicly owned Train Operating companies from other European countries.
Just a few years ago East Coast Rail – having failed drastically in private train operators’ hands, was run more successfully, more efficiently, and with higher passenger satisfaction levels as a public company. This public rail company also returned record amounts of money back to the Government compared to the previous private operator. Until the Tories re-privatised it.
So, it’s just common sense, with a pragmatic, tested model used around the world, that means we can have a People’s Railway our country deserves and which we can all be proud of under a future Labour Government.
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