Rail passengers must come before profits | Letters

Rail passengers must come before profits | Letters
Readers respond to the sharp rise in UK train fares announced at the start of the year

It’s outrageous that Chris Grayling plans to bail out Virgin Trains East Coast by up to £2bn – Labour is absolutely right to stand up for passengers (Tom Watson calls on Chris Grayling to quit over ‘grubby’ East Coast rail deal, 31 December). Rail passengers and taxpayers are sick of the rip-off of privatisation, and this bailout is the final straw – 76% of us think the railways should be in public ownership, and when East Coast was in public hands, it enjoyed the highest rate of customer satisfaction of the whole network, at 91%.

We call on Chris Grayling to bring our railways into public ownership, starting with the East Coast line. That means he’ll need to reinstate Directly Operated Railways as a publicly owned operator, ready to run rail franchises. In the meantime, we want the transport secretary to ensure that rail companies don’t get away with breaching the terms of their franchise contract, as Virgin Trains East Coast has done. This sets a dangerous precedent to other private operators. It’s time to put passengers and the public before shareholders.
Cat Hobbs Director, We Own It, Mick Whelan General secretary, Aslef, Ellie Harrison Founder, Bring Back British Rail, Neal Lawson Chair, Compass, Mick Cash General secretary, RMT, Lynn Sloman Director, Transport for Quality of Life, Manuel Cortes General secretary, TSSA, Paul Nowak Deputy general secretary, TUC, Bobby Morton National officer, Unite

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Source: Guardian Transport

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