Why do we have (likely) the most expensive train service in the world?

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  • MrDigital 7 Jan 2012 22:38:50 1,866 posts
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16390608

    I ask after reading this article. It certainly isn't the best, so why is it so expensive? Even a relatively short journey just from Glasgow to Edinburgh costs just short of a whopping three and a half grand with a season ticket. Is it an inefficient system, is it that they charge us so much just because they can, or is it some other reason?

    Edited by Geesh at 22:41:35 07-01-2012

    Formerly TheStylishHobo and Geesh.

  • Deleted user 7 January 2012 22:48:44
    a) Because they were privatised, so they can charge what they like.

    b) Brits like low taxes, but then wonder why everything is shit.
  • Deleted user 7 January 2012 22:49:17
    Old rails that require more maintenance, a system that doesn't have people hanging off the sides of the trains and not subsidised anywhere near as much as many other nations. Our stations are closer together meaning more stops and more people to employ than many countries.
  • disusedgenius 7 Jan 2012 22:50:15 5,335 posts
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    Well they do cap how much they can increase tickets by a year, but it's always above inflation.
  • spamdangled 7 Jan 2012 22:59:14 27,355 posts
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    Greggywocky... wrote:
    a) Because they were privatised, so they can charge what they like.

    b) Brits like low taxes, but then wonder why everything is shit.
    This.

    Utilities and public transport should have remained nationalised.

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  • Carlo 7 Jan 2012 23:38:47 18,063 posts
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    Unions, privatisation of only the profitable parts, inefficiency, lack of investment.

    PSN ID: Djini

  • heyyo 7 Jan 2012 23:47:09 14,373 posts
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    Aargh. wrote:
    Old rails that require more maintenance, a system that doesn't have people hanging off the sides of the trains and not subsidised anywhere near as much as many other nations. Our stations are closer together meaning more stops and more people to employ than many countries.
    Our trains aren't sparse tin cans with bare metal seats devoid of electronics either, they cost a lot to maintain. Unlike this.

    Edited by heyyo at 23:47:31 07-01-2012
  • faux_carnation 7 Jan 2012 23:52:52 9,348 posts
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    Apparently the government are going to announce approval for the new high-speed rail link next week. It's going to cost 30+ billion, out of public money. If it makes a profit, all the profit will go to the shareholders of private companies, if it makes a loss, the loss will be covered by public money. QED.
  • heyyo 7 Jan 2012 23:57:14 14,373 posts
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    30 billion?
  • FWB 7 Jan 2012 23:58:43 44,585 posts
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    Got a few mates who work on the rails. Pretty clear from them why it is so pricey.... Corruption.
  • faux_carnation 7 Jan 2012 23:59:34 9,348 posts
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    32 billion to be more exact.
  • Deleted user 8 January 2012 00:03:30
    Running public transport privately inevitably ends up with ridiculous ticket prices because the whole endevour isn't profitable. The shitty unprofitable lines have to be propped up by the fares from the more popular, profitable lines.

    You basically pay for the ticket to cover your journey and also you're paying for the journey that someone else didn't make somewhere else.
  • PedalingSquares 8 Jan 2012 00:49:02 28 posts
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    Prices are so high because the gov want to reduce the tax payer contribution to service and pass it on to customers (who, ironically are mostly also tax payers).

    As said before, most rail routes are unprofitable and are propped up by peak hour commuter routes. This coupled with high franchise costs and operating costs push the private operators profit margins so prices can only really get higher.

    Re- nationalisation is the only way to go really. If I recall NZ did this a couple of years back with their whole rail network.
  • the_dudefather 8 Jan 2012 00:50:53 9,289 posts
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    Because it's the BEST train service in the world!

    (ง ͠ ͟ʖ ͡)

  • beastmaster 8 Jan 2012 00:53:44 11,418 posts
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    Don't the UK also pay out the highest salaries in Europe?

    The Resident Evil films. I'm one of the reasons they keep making them.

  • Deleted user 8 January 2012 01:02:15
    Reality check:

    In UK, to pay 50% income tax, you have to earn 150k

    In Belgium, you pay 50% if you earn 35k. That's a massive difference.
  • RobTheBuilder 8 Jan 2012 01:38:52 6,521 posts
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    heyyo wrote:
    Our trains aren't sparse tin cans with bare metal seats devoid of electronics either, they cost a lot to maintain. Unlike this.
    You have clearly never traveled with Northern Rail.

    We have the only train system in the world that manages to combine both the disadvantages of privatisation AND the disadvantages of nationalisation.

    Edited by RobTheBuilder at 01:39:11 08-01-2012
  • mal 8 Jan 2012 01:43:29 22,581 posts
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    As I understand it, transport costs and house prices are also higher in the UK. It's swings and roundabouts really - providing you have a job, that is.

    spudsbuckley wrote:
    You basically pay for the ticket to cover your journey and also you're paying for the journey that someone else didn't make somewhere else.
    That's opposed to the tax subsidised system whereby you pay for someone else to travel and don't even get a ticket for yourself, I assume?

    I don't know what's best personally, but I'm pretty sure journeys within greater london being practically free due to economies of scale, while journies everywhere else cost a fortune isn't the best idea.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • RobTheBuilder 8 Jan 2012 01:48:36 6,521 posts
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    Given how important the train network is to the economy subsidising it nationally isn't a bad idea.

    As with all things, most governments think the UK goes straight from the M25 to Scotland, with a bit of middle class and Oxford/Cambridge inbetween.
  • FWB 8 Jan 2012 01:49:48 44,585 posts
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    Practically free? Really? What's the cost per mile?
  • gammonbanter 8 Jan 2012 02:08:27 1,499 posts
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    faux_carnation wrote:
    Apparently the government are going to announce approval for the new high-speed rail link next week. It's going to cost 30+ billion, out of public money. If it makes a profit, all the profit will go to the shareholders of private companies, if it makes a loss, the loss will be covered by public money. QED.
    Now I'm depressed.

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  • StarchildHypocrethes 8 Jan 2012 02:08:53 25,915 posts
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    RobTheBuilder wrote:
    heyyo wrote:
    Our trains aren't sparse tin cans with bare metal seats devoid of electronics either, they cost a lot to maintain. Unlike this.
    You have clearly never traveled with Northern Rail.
    :D So true.

    Northern Rail are fucking awful.
  • mal 8 Jan 2012 02:56:34 22,581 posts
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    FWB wrote:
    Practically free? Really? What's the cost per mile?
    If that was in reply to me, I have absolutely no idea, but I would assume it's roughly comparable to the cost of maintenance and fuel for other lines, but more because of the amount of traffic (and also maybe different because nowhere else uses the third rail system afaik). But I propose it'd be effectively free because however large, if split across the huge number of passengers who use it, whatever cost would be significantly lower than less well-used parts of the rail network - i.e. almost everywhere.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • PhoenixFlames 8 Jan 2012 07:48:59 9,012 posts
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    Southeastern trains have effectively given me no option but to learn to drive (again). 100% shite. Every train I tried to get last week was cancelled.

    PSN - phoenix1flames

  • Deleted user 8 January 2012 09:33:03
    ecosse_011172 wrote:
    Aargh. wrote:
    Old rails that require more maintenance, a system that doesn't have people hanging off the sides of the trains and not subsidised anywhere near as much as many other nations. Our stations are closer together meaning more stops and more people to employ than many countries.
    Utter nonsense.
    No it isn't but thanks for explaining why that isn't correct.

    And the new system will cost 32b because there's a lot of shit in the way that has to be built over/under. Switzerland is more like a barren wasteland that you can build straight through and no-one will notice.

    Edited by Aargh. at 09:37:33 08-01-2012
  • Deleted user 8 January 2012 09:34:49
    PhoenixFlames wrote:
    Southeastern trains have effectively given me no option but to learn to drive (again). 100% shite. Every train I tried to get last week was cancelled.
    Getting a train to work is ridiculously convenient for me but at 4 return for a 5 minute train ride there's no way I'm going to bother. Driving the route is about a quarter of that cost each day.
  • Deleted user 8 January 2012 09:39:58
    It is expensive because brits demand the highest quality service
  • Red-Moose 8 Jan 2012 10:25:33 5,346 posts
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    unlimited travel whenever you like on the rail network in Netherlands is 290/month. Usually employers subsidise that or a portion of it.

    you can have a Ginger latte in the Uk however, whereas here you just have some fried cheese. and if you are lucky enough to live in oxford and work in london, you can spend most of your journey standing up to see the nice scenery.
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