Our railways are in crisis and I am writing to you today to ask you to stop tiptoeing around the real solution to this crisis. It is clear that what our railway needs, in order to stop the continued waste of public money, is public ownership - as Wales has already shown.
The Williams Review’s recommendations have been teased this past week at the Rail Recovery Conference and its centrepiece appears to be a proposal that the government continues to give money to private rail companies to run our railway. That is the last thing our railway needs.
I am hopeful that you will do the right thing and stop propping up the profiteers. It was revealed last week that the government is preparing the “Operators of Last Resort” to take control of our railway system. I am urging you to make the jump now and bring our whole railway into public ownership and management, as you've done with the East Coast and Northern franchises.
Taking our railway into public ownership has the overwhelming support of the British public. A recent poll has shown that 76% of the public support the public ownership of our railway.
At a time when passenger numbers are down by more than 80%, with 50% of companies saying they will adopt remote working measures more permanently even after lockdown is lifted (reducing the need for commutes), what our rail needs is a coordinated nationwide strategy. This is only possible through public ownership. The fundamentally fragmented privatised model we’ve had up to now will not do it.
With our railway in public ownership, we could also have fairer fares and more investment to improve services. We can also introduce a national flexible season ticket that will save passengers money and support new working patterns. These measures (and others like them) will encourage people back to using the trains as lockdown restrictions are lifted, reducing their need to resort to driving or flying. Our railway should be a vital part of our fight against climate change.Moreover, taking our rail into public ownership allows the government to invest to make our railway greener and more sustainable for the future quicker - as every penny will go to improvements and not profit.
Will you take our rail into public ownership?
Thank you for your time and consideration. I will watch developments eagerly.