Viewing 40 posts - 201 through 240 (of 273 total)
  • These rail strikes then…
  • Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    Kenny Lynch?
    Albert Lynch?
    Fascinating and perceptive insights (particularly for someone who doesn’t watch the telly) provided by some of the controversialist usuals.

    Premier Icon finephilly
    Free Member

    My take is nationalise the non-moving parts (track/signals/buildings/land) and privatise the moving parts (employees/fares/cleaning/maintenance). This should give the best of both worlds where fares are competitive on a good network. The rolling stock is a kind of middle-ground where you need a bit of help with leasing/manufacturing so TOCs will update stock.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Full Member

    How exactly does privatising the “moving parts” give the best of both worlds?
    At the risk of pointing out the obvious we have had privatised fares for some time and have just ended up with a confusing mess.
    As for maintenance. Do you not recall why the private Railtrack got replaced by Network Rail?

    Premier Icon alanl
    Free Member

    My take is nationalise the non-moving parts (track/signals/buildings/land) and privatise the moving parts (employees/fares/cleaning/maintenance). This should give the best of both worlds where fares are competitive on a good network. The rolling stock is a kind of middle-ground where you need a bit of help with leasing/manufacturing so TOCs will update stock.

    Err, thats exactly what happened in 96/97. The non-moving parts side went bust, after failing to maintain the network properly, and resulting in a number of accidents and deaths. Eventually the Government stepped in and formed Network Rail which is wholly Government owned. The franchising of the routes didnt go well either, with a number of franchisees going bust. The Government now runs all of the train operating routes, but subs out their running to the Operator, who does that for a fixed fee, with no financial involvement.
    The only bit the same is the rolling stock providers who provide the trains to the companies who cannot buy their own.
    The only cloud about this is the DfT who run it all, and couldnt organise anything. We’ve now got hybrid trains running London to Edinburgh on electric power all day long, but having to lug around 40 tons of mnon-used diesel engine and diesel fuel, hammering their efficiency, as well as putting up their lease cost to over double the cost of the previous generation of trains, and extra manitenance cost, and complexity in their operation.. All specified by the DfT, not the Train operating Companies, who wanted an electric only train.

    Premier Icon ernielynch
    Free Member

    where fares are competitive

    If privatisation drives down fares it makes you wonder why the government needs to intervene.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rail-fares-capped-to-prevent-high-increases-for-passengers

    Premier Icon finephilly
    Free Member

    If everything is nationalised, then there is no incentive to improve. If everything is private, there is no incentive to invest. There must be a mid-point.
    It makes more sense to have the track, stations and signalling nationalised, then let TOC’s run services on that. The franchise model wasn’t great but at least it opened up the network for use by several TOC’s. Why not make London commuters pay more than Highland off-peak users?

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    If everything is nationalised, then there is no incentive to improve

    Are you serious? So you’re saying all NHS staff, education, civil servants….
    I think you might benefit from a bit of advice/information before making statements like that.

    Premier Icon finephilly
    Free Member

    I’m talking in Macro-economic terms.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Full Member

    I’m talking in Macro-economic terms.

    Still doesnt make your claim correct although it does give a good idea where your ideological bias comes from.

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    Incentives to work are microenomic. You need to understand the labour theory of value, it applies to both state and privately run institutions. Do you imagine people get a job in the state sector and hang up their hats?

    Premier Icon muckytee
    Free Member

    finephilly – that’s already the case, the infrastructure is nationalised, it’s owned by and maintained by Network rail which is a government owned company.

    You can run trains under a franchise or purely commercially in some way I forget the name of it, but search up Lumo trains

    Premier Icon rone
    Full Member

    If everything is nationalised, then there is no incentive to improve.

    At what point do we start benefiting from incentive driven privatised services?

    Premier Icon finephilly
    Free Member

    If you nationalised a supermarket chain, that would probably end up with rows and rows of porridge oats though, right?
    I’m not talking about the incentive to work or labour eceonomics – I get that everyone wants to do that and it adds value. By all means, let the RMT have a 10% rise or whatever.
    I’m talking about the situation as a whole, the network has massive potential for improvement (which I can only see being provided by public money) and if we go to a place where the govt gives out contracts to operators, where’s the value for consumers?

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    Track and trace, PPE, railways, water, GP surgeries, power, academy schools, didn’t you notice the improvements?

    Premier Icon alanl
    Free Member

    You can run trains under a franchise or purely commercially in some way I forget the name of it, but search up Lumo trains

    You cannot run trains under a franchise any more, from May 21, all TOCs are Government, or Local Authority controlled. The old franchises were given up, or taken away, and some of the incumbents were allowed to carry on running them under a Government Contract, where they get a set fee to run the trains.All controls,services, and contracts are set by the DfT, so blame them if your service is dire.
    Yes, Lumo, Grand Central and Hull trains are separate,’Open Access Operators’. They pay a fee to NR to run their trains on the network. Their only income is from fares, they are not able to access the subsidies available to many Operators (the Government paying itself to run trains).There must be some money in it as Lumo spent a lot setting up, and leasing their new trains. But, they all run on what is the most lucrative line, the East Coast Mainline. Attempts have been made to run open access along the West Coast Mainline, but the operators gave up because of covid.

    Premier Icon v8ninety
    Full Member

    At what point do we start benefiting from incentive driven privatised services?

    well that very much depends on whether you are a shareholder or cattle a passenger, really.

    Premier Icon v8ninety
    Full Member

    If you nationalised a supermarket chain, that would probably end up with rows and rows of porridge oats though, right?

    That is a very different business, though. With supermarkets, there’s strong competition, and all of the income comes directly from the customers, who can choose between five or six different shops. So the stores have big incentives to provide value, and variety to attract the money.

    With rail (now I’m not an expert, but from what I can see) on the other hand, competition is limited as routes and timetables are saturated, and most importantly, the majority of the money comes from gov subsidy/contract, so there’s no incentive to please/innovate for the customer. Profit margins are improved by cutting costs and corners, rather than increasing market share.

    We need to decide as a nation whether public transport is a business, or a public service, and manage it appropriately. Some things shouldn’t be for profit, and if the government (ie we, via taxes) are paying for it, then it’s one of them. See also Healthcare, Education.

    Premier Icon finephilly
    Free Member

    I’m taking the view that a rail ticket is pretty much a private good (as I said before, some regulation or capping is needed), so can be exchanged with a bus/car/taxi journey.

    Premier Icon darkcove
    Full Member

    I’ve just posted my ballot paper off today. I won’t say which way I voted as it’s supposed to be a secret ballot, but it’s the first time in 15yrs and several disputes that I’ve unhesitatingly known where my X was going to go.

    Premier Icon ernielynch
    Free Member

    If you nationalised a supermarket chain, that would probably end up with rows and rows of porridge oats though, right?

    Well if you put porridge oats to one side and focus on topic being discussed – the railways, would you say that the French Railways, widely seen as among the most advanced in the world, has been held back because it is a nationalised industry?

    Premier Icon finephilly
    Free Member

    The French have invested in excellent trains and an extensive highspeed network (as part of an EU-wide collab). They also have under-used TGV trains and poor frequency (compared to the UK) in rural areas.
    There are alternative means of transport available to UK travellers; this can be taken on directly by allowing private operators/ harnessing a profit motive to encourage train travel.

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    ‘A private good is the opposite of a public good. Public goods are generally open for all to use (like trains) and consumption by one party does not deter another party’s ability to use it. It is also not excludable; preventing the use of the good by another is not possible.’ Investopedia

    Most people would be wise enough to keep their gobs shut on topics which they clearly know nothing about, but hey you always get the odd one.

    Premier Icon finephilly
    Free Member

    Well if you buy a train ticket and board a train, that limits the capacity of that train by one, so surely that would make it a private good?

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Full Member

    so surely that would make it a private good?

    You clearly havent used one of the UK privatised train services (or some of the Japanese ones for that matter).

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    So if you drink a glass of water no-one else can drink it (at least for a while) but it’s still a public good. Pretensious economese does not enhance an argument.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    French trains are much cheaper a d more reliable than tbe uk

    Finefilly have you ever used them?

    Privatised monopoly like railways are always more expensive for poorer service

    Premier Icon mattyfez
    Free Member

    Watch BBC QT from last night, the tory ‘wet blanket’ they fielded got trounced, and that was before the results of the byelection defeat that was happening at the same time.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    Your regular scheduled reminder that our “privatised” train service mostly ended up owned by other countries. Nationalisation is such an excellent idea that France, Holland, Italy, Japan and others all went past having their own nationalised railway, they nationalised ours too.

    Every time I hear someone say that privatisation is more efficient I think, you have so little faith in the UK that you think having the Italians run our trains is more efficient than we could do ourselves.

    Premier Icon ernielynch
    Free Member

    To be fair the French nationalised railways which run UK train services, for example, are driven solely by the need to make a profit from British consumers (profit which presumably can then be used to subsidise French consumers) so the profit motive is there even if it is a nationalised company.

    Furthermore running national rail services is a highly complex operation which is better off being tackled by state owned companies rather than, as we have seen, private companies.

    So it is hardly surprising that the majority of railway services in the UK are run by French, Dutch, Belgian, German, and Italian, state owned companies.

    Premier Icon andrewreay
    Full Member

    @billmc

    Please explain to me how getting the train from London to Manchester is a public good but getting the plane is private?

    The investopedia definition doesn’t make sense from the perspective of a consumer.

    If you don’t have funds, niether the train nor the plane is feasible. So surely both are private?

    And if the train or plane are full, then you also can’t travel. But in both cases the operators reserve high price tickets for those willing to pay. So in both cases use is excluded.

    No one has a right to take a train from London to Manchester. Or Tring to Eccles

    Premier Icon beanoir
    Free Member

    As a long term user of the rail network in this country, I can assure you that our rail services are a damn sight better today than they were in the early 90s.

    The vast majority of those who support renationalisation of our rail service don’t even use it.

    Premier Icon mattyfez
    Free Member

    I don’t think anyone is complaining about the ‘quality’ of the ‘rail services’.

    We know they are hamstrung by private franchises.

    Premier Icon rone
    Full Member

    If you don’t have funds, niether the train nor the plane is feasible. So surely both are private

    The UK government has the power of the purse and unlimited access to finances. There is zero need for it be run for profit or worry about the cost to the exchequer.

    If the political will existed the whole thing could be state financed.

    The restriction is self imposed by the idea that services run better in the market.

    (Of course you still have to spend the cash logically. And have the resources and labour force.)

    I reckon airline travel will not return to how it was – it seems to be a shoestring industry that relies on business travel to make it work.

    Premier Icon rone
    Full Member

    Track and trace, PPE, railways, water, GP surgeries, power, academy schools, didn’t you notice the improvements

    Don’t get me started on water companies. My bill has gone up and up and so where’s the competition?

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I reckon airline travel will not return to how it was – it seems to be a shoestring industry that relies on business travel to make it work.

    Airlines aren’t dissimilar to rail.

    Fixed timetables, a unionized, 24/7 shift operating, highly skilled (therefore expensive) workforce, a customer fixated on lowest possible price, a high % of fixed costs in product delivery, the inability of operators to defend themselves in a price war(and also hugely vulnerable to market shocks), massive infrastructure costs and the high cost of maintenance and operational compliance means that running the service itself as a profitable venture is incredibly difficult.

    Some of it certainly relies on business travel where you can charge insane premiums but rail (and airlines) need to come up with other schemes alongside to keep the money flowing. Airlines are basically banks that happen to fly planes much the same as rail is basically a pension system with trains.

    You could argue that airlines, like rail, would be better placed as a cost-recovery utility provided by governments than remain as a failed capitalist profit model.
    Public transport should be a public service, it should not be reliant on profit. London buses are a great example, they’re very heavily subsidised.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Full Member

    I can assure you that our rail services are a damn sight better today than they were in the early 90s.

    As a long time user I would disagree. They are crap now even with the massively higher levels of subsidy and fares thrown at them.

    Premier Icon ernielynch
    Free Member

    As a long time user I would disagree

    So does this article in the FT yesterday:

    https://www.ft.com/content/b15a7269-10c5-4ae2-8a29-a576594b7f3c

    It was only when the power of these regional barons was broken up that British Rail started to become effective. Three business sectors were created to focus on passengers — InterCity, Network SouthEast and Regional Railways. For the first time, the managers had a free rein to make decisions over all aspects — timetabling, cheap fares, investment in new trains and so on — as long as they stayed within budgets set by British Rail centrally in concert with government.

    This model worked so well that Intercity’s long-distance services became highly profitable. Even Network SouthEast broke even, a remarkable achievement for a commuter railway that had to cope with the expense of providing trains for two short peak periods alongside spare capacity at other times.

    The key element of this success was the lack of interference from politicians. Managers were able to make commercial decisions without having to ask permission from Whitehall.

    How ironic that privatisation should result in government interference.

    Rail privatisation was politically driven and had nothing to do with efficiency or customer needs. The rail privatisation legalisation specifically named one company, and one company only, that would not be allowed to tender for the rail franchises, and that was the only company in the UK that actually had any experience in running trains – British Rail.

    And yet no restrictions whatsoever were put on foreign state owned companies from tendering for franchises. Rail privatisation is an example of Tory idealogical petty vindictiveness.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    They are crap now even with the massively higher levels of subsidy and fares thrown at them.

    Funny how when shedloads of money gets thrown at the road network it’s “investment”.
    Give that same money to the railways and it’s “subsidy” (or worse still, “bailout”).

    It goes back to the previous point: why should PUBLIC transport be run as a profit-making enterprise?

    Pre-Covid, the TfL model actually wasn’t bad (post-Covid, it’s been exposed as being incredibly vulnerable to what might loosely be termed Acts of God) able to cross-pollinate the funds from the Tube (which was profitable) to offset the buses (which were not profitable) and still have enough left over for investment, expansion and day-to-day running costs.

    Overall, it was not profitable in terms of giving money to shareholders or squirreling it away offshore because it re-invested everything it made but it was still able to pay good wages and run a good service across bus, train and tube.

    Premier Icon argee
    Full Member

    Funny how when shedloads of money gets thrown at the road network it’s “investment”.
    Give that same money to the railways and it’s “subsidy” (or worse still, “bailout”).

    To be fair, Network Rail is government owned and all ‘profits’ are meant to go back into rail infrastructure, even the rail franchises are now pretty much paid services, rather than real businesses, the failings over the last 30 years have slowly been bringing the rail network back in to a public ownership model in all but name, as it’s been such a nightmare to everyone involved.

    The reality is a tory government won’t ever nationalise rail, they fear bringing lots of people into the civil service, they’d rather spend billions to fudge it and pretend it isn’t what it is, and what it should be. I think the last labour government also got a bit scared with it due to the absolute massive size, complexity and risk that the railways have.

    It would be nice for the country that invented the railway to actually have a decent one!

    Premier Icon irc
    Full Member

    Funny how when shedloads of money gets thrown at the road network it’s “investment”.
    Give that same money to the railways and it’s “subsidy” (or worse still, “bailout”).

    The difference being that road users pay taxes in the form of fuel duty and vehicle excise duty that more than cover the cost of roads while railfares don’t cover the cost of the railways.

    In Scotland fares only cover a third of the cost of the railways.

    https://www.scotrail.co.uk/about-scotrail/fit-future/detailed-assessment

    Roads users pay £35Bn in taxes.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/feb/04/uk-road-pricing-transport-committee-mps-electric-shift

    Roads expenditure is £11Bn

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/298667/united-kingdom-uk-public-sector-expenditure-national-roads/

Viewing 40 posts - 201 through 240 (of 273 total)

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