Monday, October 07, 2013

One reason why rail privatisation is so rubbish

Guest post by son of RMT union member and now top UNISON steward, Ebrahim Piperdy on the daftness of Rail Privatisation - the confusion, the failure to really compete, the extra expense and the lack of joined up thinking that goes on when you give private companies natural monopolies. 

"I cannot believe the way the railways are so fragmented and because of this it is no wonder why the ticket prices are so high. Here’s one example of my daily journey.

At present I commute from Laindon (a small town next to Basildon, Essex) to Highbury and Islington, London (zone 2). The cost of a monthly ticket is £261.00. I thought this is well expensive and decided to use an electric bike from Laindon to Upminster (zone 6) and use my London transport Oystercard which only costs £5.40 daily instead of £13.70!

On one occasion I had to work from Stratford, London (zone 3). So I got off at Plaistow and decided to bike to Stratford. Unfortunately the bit on my bike which holds the battery broke so I had to plan my return journey home.

When I looked at the fares, I found that if I travelled home via Greater Anglia Railways through Romford rather than through West Ham then via C2C Railways to Laindon it would cost £6.50 single rather than £7.50. I also found out a return from Stratford to Laindon return via Greater Anglia would be £10.00 and not £12.10.

In effect Greater Anglia was cheaper but they had no season ticket in place when travelling via Romford. C2C was able to charge the more expensive fare. So I did not have the choice to travel via a slightly slower route at a cheaper price. I wrote to Greater Anglia about this and advised my local MP.

Greater Anglia came back and said they would not introduce this as there was no demand and passengers should pay £2540.00 per year. However, finally Greater Anglia did introduce the season ticket I requested which now costs £2000.00 per year. I was glad to have contributed towards saving someone that travels from Laindon to Stratford £540.00 per year.

I then found other examples of other season tickets across the UK whereby if you travelled via a specific train operator the cost of the season ticket would be much cheaper. For instance when going from Stoke to Manchester when travelling with Virgin Rail it costs £2028.00 whereas the any permitted route costs £2780.00.

Because of this I asked Greater Anglia to advise why they did not do this for people who wish to travel from Laindon to Highbury via Romford and not the any permitted route. Greater Anglia replied by saying I should contact C2C. They stated this twice!

I contacted C2C and they stated Greater Anglia would need to decide this as I originally thought. Because of this I have sent all this information to "Passenger Focus" and requested this issue be looked at by the Office for Rail Regulation.

So I look forward to Passenger Focus’s response. I wonder if they will reply and say they are not responsible as well!!!
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