Latest Rail News

31.08.12

ASLEF calls for rail franchising review

The train drivers union ASLEF has called for the Government to review the system of rail franchising, following the public dispute between Virgin Trains and the DfT over the WCML contract.

The franchise system was initially introduced to increase competition and efficiency and cut public subsidies, but has failed to do so, Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, argues.

He has written to the transport secretary Justine Greening, calling for a review of the whole system.

Whelan said: “The unseemly scrap between Richard Branson and First Group is the latest public demonstration that franchising is a failed concept that need to be replaced. Even those bidding don’t seem to know the rules! Even those trying to buy the business don’t know the rules.

“Taxpayers and the travelling public are fed up with this public franchising farce. ASLEF’s position is clear and well known. We want to return the service to public hands. We believe that our arguments are rational and convincing.

“We call on the Minister to open a full consultation with all concerned parties specifically to discuss how to mend a system that is clearly broken. To press on blindly with something that doesn’t work because it used to be Tory Party dogma a couple of decades ago is irresponsible folly.

“We are confident of our arguments and put this review proposal forward in the genuine interest of taxpayers, rail passengers and those who work in the industry.”

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