Britain’s railways have been judged worst for fares, efficiency and comfort in a study of rail services in Europe. It is estimated that the social, economic and environmental benefits of achieving a modal shift from road to rail – in terms of reduced congestion, accidents and emissions – could potentially reach £154.8bn by 2050.
But will anyone be listening, as we move into yet another phase of the Welfare Rights debacle?
A report, A Fare Return: Ensuring the UK’s railways deliver true value for money, was commissioned by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in anticipation of the Coalition Government’s McNulty Review of the railways. Written by the thinktank Just Economics, it says:
“Our under-performing railways carry a considerable cost both for passengers and for the public purse. Our calculations show that a more affordable, more comfortable and faster railway would generate a staggering £324bn in social value (£9.2bn a year) between now and 2050. This is the equivalent of £7 of value per average journey in that period.”
The report’s author Eilis Lawlor added: “Our research puts figures on what anyone who has been to France or Spain already knows – the UK’s railways are poor value for money.
“Instead of profitability being the primary measure of success, the wider benefits of the railway need greater consideration.
“The government should act decisively and make an objective and transparent assessment of the best way to organise Britain’s railways so as to maximise social, environmental and economic value.”
Well, who wants to develop policies which help to save lives and the planet, as well as ‘potentially £154.8bn by 2050’, when we could just leave things in the mess they are now?
Source: The Guardian 6 February 2012