Have Hypocrisy, Won’t Travel

Ryanair are getting it in the neck for being even more useless than normal, and I have absolutely no problem with that, but…

Why is an airline expected to provide the service it promised to,  which its customers already paid for and made arrangements around, and to stop telling fibs in a desperate attempt to evade their obligations when certain Train Operating Companies (TOCs) can do whatever the hell they like and never even get a slap on the wrist? I mean, holidays are important but large numbers of people routinely unable to get to work on time, year in and year out, must cause a far greater impact on the economy than Ryanair being more useless than normal this year.

I guess what I am trying to ask is this:

What does Southern have to do to be stripped of its franchise?

Fail to employ enough staff and blame it on the Unions? Nope. Fail to run services on time and blame it on the London Overground train in front (which only got in front of the Southern because the Southern was already so late that it missed its slot and the LO couldn’t wait forever)? Nope. Fail to have enough trains and blame it on… On what? I don’t think that they even bothered to make up a proper excuse for that one. They just call that a “shortage of rolling stock” as if that is a reason outside of their control.

I know. Maybe if they set fire to New Cross Gate? Maybe if they tried to make up for cancelling trains to East Grinstead by sending all the trains there at the same time on days with a full moon? Maybe if they actually buggered the Transport Secretary?

No. There is nothing that will have them removed from their franchise! Not even Sadiq Kahn’s exasperated offer to take it over and run it properly will do any good.

You see, the Britain’s railways do not exist to provide the transport service necessary to serve the UK economy by getting its workers to and from their jobs. They exist merely to provide a highly subsidised gravy train (You see what I did there?) for incompetent owners of train operating companies, many of which wouldn’t stand a chance either in a genuinely free market, or under a more conventional contracting framework. Whether any actual transportation occurs is entirely incidental to this arrangement. It is the very worst elements of nationalisation and of privatisation, of capitalism and of socialism, of fish and of fowl, of cheese and of onion, and of arse and of elbow.

I hate Southern!


For those who care, my preference would be for a simple contracting model: You pay a contractor to run the trains and if they cock it up you fire them and get somebody else in. That is the way the DLR and London Overground work. They may not be perfect but they are a damn sight better than Southern.


October 1, 2017. Politics, Travel.

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