Co-operative rail

I feel like one of the great train passengers this year, but travelling by train combines high highs and low lows.

We have just published a brilliant analysis by Christian Wolmar, the transport commentator, on the case for co-operative rail. Almost three quarters (72%) of regular rail users want a greater say in the rail company they use most frequently, while over half (57%) of all adults think tickets would be cheaper and 58% believe that customer service would be better if passengers co-operatively owned the rail company.

Despite passenger journeys generating revenue of £6.2bn last year, the railways remain largely owned by private companies yet are subsidised by the tax-payer to the tune of £5bn a year. 19 franchises make an annual profit of £250m while passenger fares rose, in January, by up to 11%.

It is nice that the most senior rail enthusiast we have, Lord Andrew Adonis, the last Transport Minister and now at the Institute for Government tells me that “This is a very important and timely contribution… and exactly the kind of creative thinking our railways, and more generally, our public services will need in the years ahead.”

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