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Labour pledges franchising review in manifesto

Ed Miliband has pledged to review the rail franchising process “as a priority” to put in place a new system and “avoid a repeat of the Conservatives’ franchising fiasco”, as part of his party’s manifesto for the 2015 General Election.

Within the document, the party re-affirms a lot of what was already speculated. For instance, Miliband confirmed that a new national rail body will oversee and plan for the railways and will give rail users a greater say in how trains operate. 

“We will legislate so that a public sector operator is allowed to take on lines and challenge the private train operating companies on a level playing field,” said Labour. 

On top of this, rail fares would be frozen next year to” help commuters” while Labour implements its reforms. 

The manifesto noted: “A strict fare rise cap will be introduced on every route for any future fare rises, and a new legal right for passengers will be created to access the cheapest ticket for their journey.” 

The party added that it will continue to support the construction of High Speed 2, but keep costs down, and take action to improve and expand rail links across the north to boost its regional economies. 

Launching the manifesto in Manchester, Ed Miliband said: “We will seek to bear down on all the costs working people face. 

“Showing how we can freeze rail fares in the first year of a Labour government and do it in a properly funded way.” 

Responding to the manifesto pledge, Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, welcomed the proposals for reform. 

He said: “On rail, the manifesto provides for a public sector operator to be able to run train services in Britain – just as the East Coast did successfully for five years, returning £1bn to the Treasury – and for a costed one-year freeze on fares, in contrast to the Tories’ uncosted five-year ‘freeze’ announced which is, in real terms, a guaranteed increase (fares will rise with the RPI).”

(Image: c. Jon Super) 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected] 


Tony   18/04/2015 at 09:28

Once again a possible Labour government getting involved in business affairs will lead to a moribund railway we experienced in the so called "good old BR days". This undoubtedly shows Millibland's left wing credentials which dictates that the state always knows best which in the past has resulted in Britain being left behind by the stranglehold that had resulted. The best people to run the railways are those who know about it not Whitehall mandarins and misguided left wing politicians.

Nonsuchmike   20/04/2015 at 15:57

Well, Tony, you are entitled to your opinion, but rail operators have consistently shown over the past 20 years that they do NOT know what is best for their customers. It has been a case of: that's the service you're getting - take it or leave it. A two car intercity service between Manchester and S Yorks/E. Midlands? A two car service between Bristol and Weymouth - you must be joking! Not to mention the failure to dovetail trains with other local bus services, or services lacking @ weekends despite increased demand. The difference is that for too long the public has put up with profits being creamed off as super-bonuses by the heads of these entities for work scarcely as taxing as the average office HR worker. Now, with the extra competition (and hopefully more competition from Europe to Continental cities) we can see less steepling fares in future and the profits on the lines returned to the long suffering tax-payers and commuters, where they should have been all along.

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