West Coast franchise shambles – a verdict

Transport writer and broadcaster Christian Wolmar has delivered a stinging verdict on the West Coast franchise shambles.

Its an excellent piece and well worth reading in full here

But his concluding paragraph needs quoting in full:

It is time to end the ridiculous franchising system not least as no one has been able to answer the question I’ve been asking for years: ‘what is franchising for?’. The key point about profits is that they should be a reward either for taking risk or for investing capital. The franchise operators do neither. The system allows them to make around £250m per year on the basis of very little investment and hardly any risk. Moreover, the franchising process itself, as we have discovered, is a waste of time and resources. After 15 years of a misguided experiment, the railways must be brought back under public ownership. This would not only save money but also be widely welcomed by the travelling public.