Latest Rail News

08.05.12

More MPs come out against McNulty proposals

More than 100 MPs have now signed a Commons motion opposing the Government’s rail policies and the implementation of the McNulty value for money study recommendations.

The early day motion, first tabled by Labour MP John McDonnell in October last year, is backed primarily by Labour MPs, but also by 13 Lib Dems, three Plaid Cymru members, the SNP’s Pete Wishart and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

The motion notes concerns that the McNulty recommendations will “worsen passenger services” as frontline staff are sacked, TOCs get more power to raise fares, and Network Rail is ‘broken up’.

This will “increase the complexity and inefficiency of the railways, and ignores lessons from railways in European countries which have generally achieved lower costs and fares through a more unified structure”, it says.

This is a similar view to that taken by the main rail unions, which have welcomed the MPs’ support, but the Government says the costs of running the railway have to come down, in the interests of passengers and taxpayers.

Hitting the £3.5bn savings target by 2019 will, according to rail minister Theresa Villiers “put an end to the era of above-inflation increases in average regulated fares”.

She said: “To address crowding, cut journey times, and improve the passenger experience, we are funding thousands of new carriages across the country, electrifying swathes of the rail network, and redeveloping many of our great railway stations.”

(Palaceof Westminsterimage courtesy Jim Trodel, reproduced under a Creative Commons licence. See www.flickr.com/photos/trodel/with/3599402258/ ) 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Sam   08/05/2012 at 13:35

many of these problems were created by Labour in Government, it's a bit rich to suddenly rise up against the franchise model now

Tim   08/05/2012 at 16:00

The MPs might well be right, but they've got to come forward with proper proposals on cutting the excessive costs of running our railway, not just harp from the sidelines about what the Government is doing wrong. A lot of them might say 'renationalise it' - fine, but that will cause the exact same problems in terms of cost, complexity and inefficiency that they say McNulty's proposals will

Ricp   30/05/2012 at 09:54

The dysfunctional structure of the industry is the product of ignorant political advisors to the Major government, incompetent civil servants who created this 'jungle' and the failure of the Labour Government to slowly modify the structure and ownership of the railway industries over their 13 year term. McNulty fails to grasp the structural problems, so proposes station staffing cuts. This is a false economy as there is a loss of income from those unable to / won't use ticket machines, and the increased vandalism, graffitti, broken windows or scratched perspex, leading to an unsatifactory passenger environment and increased maintenance costs, etc, etc. We have all seen grotty unstaffed stations. PTE/ITA operations from Merseytravel and Centro have required stations to be staffed to the end of service, and the remarkable reduction in vandalism saves so much hassle and remedial repair costs. TfL's zero tolerance on grafitti on London Overground has meant my local LO station has had but one vandalism attack in 3 YEARS, it is clean, tidy and STAFFED. And very brightly lit at night and lots of CCTV. Whether MPs or the TUs, you all need to set out an alternative policy to ensure that McNulty's report is read, but like Serpell, needs shelving, but after you have read it to know what is wrong. Political and managerial incompetence goes back 50 years to Marples and many, though not all, aspects of Beeching.

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