Government must learn lessons of West Coast debacle

Yesterday’s decision by the government to re-tender the contract for the West Coast mainline exposes the ‘inherent flaws’ of the current rail franchising system.

Instead of encouraging private operators to submit ‘unsustainable bids’ the government should learn the lessons from the state owned East Coast mainline which last week posted a £20m increase in profits that will be reinvested back into the service.

TUC General Secretary Designate, and chair of Action for Rail, Frances O’Grady said:

This embarrassing episode has exposed once again the inherent flaws of the current franchising system which has resulted in expensive legal challenges and a PR disaster for the government.

It is essential that ministers learn the lessons from this debacle and look at the successful blueprint provided by the East Coast mainline which is making profits that are being reinvested back into services for passengers. It is essential that any plans to re-privatise this route are now abandoned and the West Coast mainline is also taken back into public ownership.

Instead of encouraging unsustainable bids that are not in the interests of passengers and taxpayers the government needs to realise the value of state-run services.