Off the rails….
One worse thing in politics exists than to be hated and that is to be the object of mockery. Nick Clegg is definitely at the point where he is an object of mockery as much as contempt. His latest venture into the public arena this morning, to defend an eye-watering 8% rise in rail fares proves that he is like the comedy Grim Reaper – wheeled out to deliver all the governments bad news to an increasingly brassed-off populace.
Quite what the government thinks it is doing raising rail prices by 8% is beyond me, I can attest from first hand experience that they are already perfectly high enough. No matter what they think they are doing, they are adding a considerably heavier burden to people who depend on public transport and also taking another step on the path which will see it become the sole preserve of the rich. You would think the 8% rise sounds bad enough but as Fares Fair outline it’s the tip of the iceberg;
Fares are set to go up by 28% over the next four years – that’s £1,500 more for some season tickets.
Public transport costs and standards of service are simply absurd. No real incentive exists for people to abandon cars so the simple fact is they won’t. Be under no illusions that Train Operating Companies are struggling somehow – they aren’t. The government, which should be a restraining influence on the corporate greed of the rail companies, actually encourages them to further line their own pockets under the guise of service improvements. It is encouraging fare increases so it can reduce its rail subsidy on the sly and the TOC’s are more than happy to comply to increase their profit margins. Neither of them cares about the railways, the rail passenger or the wider environmental implications and since neither can be trusted, the only way to end this unholy alliance is to transfer ownership democratically to rail workers and representatives of service users to ensure we have affordable transport which meets the passengers needs.