Privateers accused of lining shareholders' pockets with subsidy cash while passengers are packed ever-tighter
Rail privateers are failing to provide the investment needed to cope with surging demand from passengers, a new report revealed yesterday.
Taxpayers’ cash paid out in subsidies is ending up in shareholders’ pockets rather than paying for the trains needed to meet passengers’ needs.
The only intercity network satisfying passengers’ needs — publicly-owned East Coast — is due to be privatised next year under Con-Dem plans.
According to figures from the Office of Rail Regulation, the annual number of rail journeys has more than doubled since the mid-1990s to a staggering 1.7 billion.
Rail union RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “While passenger numbers on Britain’s railways continue to surge, the capacity required to meet that demand has failed to keep up, leaving many services bursting at the seams with, in some cases, passengers left stranded because there simply isn’t enough room on board.”
East Coast has earned at least £800m for the Treasury since being rescued from incompetent profiteers.
But the ideologically-driven coalition Con-Dems plan to hand it back to their City friends.
And RMT warned yesterday that privateers already have plans to axe part of the network in Northumberland to increase profits.
Mr Cash added: “It is scandalous that the government is prepared to give the private-sector vultures hovering over the East Coast route a green light to rip up the timetable and to leave passengers and communities cut-off and stranded in the name of private greed and private profit.”