Wednesday, January 23The Voice of London

Renationalisation for the UK’s rail system?

Every Londoner has some point in their life experienced the Monday madness on the underground. Long queues to tap-in, watching three tubes go by before you can even see the yellow line, shuffling along the platform like a penguin to the exit – the list of annoyances is endless.

In January 2018, rail fares jumped by 3.2%. Regular commuters can spend up to hundreds or thousands on train tickets and travel cards but how much value do they actually get for their money?

Particularly since winter is coming. The UK was subjected to harsh weather conditions earlier in the year, which subsequently saw a surge in train cancellations. Network Rail said normal services were cut to “allow engineers to focus on keeping the main parts of the rail network open. Compacted snow can turn into solid ice and prevent points – which direct trains from one track to another – from working”, via BBC. During the summer, 2018 saw the hottest temperatures since the 70s, it could quite possibly mean this winter will be extremely cold too.

There has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of trains that are being cancelled or significantly late since 2010, Labour has said. Overcrowding has also risen by more than 25 per cent on the top 10 packed peak-time routes. London – of course being the worst contender – suffers 5.4 per cent overcrowding in the AM and 2.7 per cent during PM hours.

Some of the worst operators for punctuality include; Virgin West Coast, Grand Central, Govia Thameslink, Virgin East Coast and First Hull Trains (Network Rail figures for year ending April 2018, via BBC).

As well as cancellations on train lines increasing, the number of people actually using public transport is also increasing. Since 1994, the total number of passengers has increased by 135% – making trains a lot busier since privatisation.

Labour brands the train industries cancellations and overcrowding as “Tory rail mayhem.” Corbyn believes there needs to be renationalisation for the railways, “the rail chaos unleashed by the Tories on the North of England shows their utter disregard for people living in the towns in the North.”

In light of the Luxembourg agenda to make public transportation free for all (the first country in the world to do so), the UK may want to reflect on the privatisation of our railways and the high-costs that civilians pay to commute.

Words by Megan Naylor / Subbing by Memuna Konteh 

Featured image by Holzijue via Pixabay 

 

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