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Should Uk Railways Be Renationalised

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Thomas Ham, Mar 10, 2021.

?
  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Maybe

  4. I don't Know

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  1. Disintegration7

    Disintegration7 Well-Known Member

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    But tbf you have to look at WHY some of the routes were shut down- the huge boom in air travel beginning in the 50's and 60's really killed the demand for long-haul routes, especially. There were multiple railroads running several cross-country passenger services and by the time the industry fully collapsed, there was barely enough demand for one. That's hardly Amtrak's fault- in fact, it's the reason it exists in the first place.

    Amtrak were given a mandate to turn a profit, which to me is bizzare for a publicly funded enterprise (don't even get me started on the US Postal Service), so failure to maintain infrastructure and further service cuts were practically inevitable.

    But, I'm not really looking to rehash that battle- I'm talking about the people RIGHT NOW who rely on Amtrak's one or two trains a day (or week even) in their hometown because they literally have no better option. A lot of them are elderly, or are economically or otherwise unable to own and drive a car, and if you think Amtrak is slow, try riding a Greyhound bus.

    For me it's worth the $ to help those people.
     
  2. Commiee

    Commiee Active Member

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    There was nothing in the post I was replying to that indicated that quote was specifically about train companies in the UK - if anything, it was a clear example of a generalised talk about supposed realities in the economy - so I was certainly not the one diluting anything. But even in the case of these companies, I provided an article that specifically mentioned their short-term interests, so it's not just my factual observation of what both governments and private sector are made to do by neoliberal economy.
     
  3. synthetic.angel

    synthetic.angel Well-Known Member

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    This isn't true. The choice between public and private operation of public services is not about costs. It's about filtering large flows of cash upwards, away from the general population through taxes (and in the case of railways, a small part would come from ticket revenue)...... and towards extremely wealthy people like Richard Branson - who are deemed to be the people that are more deserving when it comes to owning the nation's wealth.

    That is literally the point of all privatisations. Privatisations do not occur in industries (or services) where private companies can find a niche and operate efficiently to make money for investors - because those kinds of industries are already private and making money, and/or taking a risk to make money (or not).

    If it were about costs, then the four times cheaper option - public ownership and management - would be chosen. But the far far higher cost choice (privatisation) is made, because the public services are always necessary in a vaguely civil society, and the taxpayer is always available to provide an almost limiless supply of risk-free cash to individuals on private company boards, and to the shareholders of companies that are selected for the free cash bonanza.

    And this approach clearly isn't a hard sell - because you yourself are quoting the sorts of bollards (better competition, cheaper pricing, etc.)...... that is always used to justify selling off (at a fraction of its value) something that the public had deeply invested in for decades, with no expectation of a return on investment, other than the service itself.

    Railways don't make money. (There are some exceptions, where a railway is genuinely privately owned, say by a mining company in Australia or South Africa). Railways handle money - and because this is done in large quantities, it offers the opportunity for some of it be syphoned off, and given to the chosen few that went to the right school.

    And when TOCs cannot make enough risk-free money in a franchising system when ticket revenues are impaired by COVID travel restrictions, then a new answer suddenly magically appears.... and that is to just give them the cash anyway, in a completely risk-free system, and call it a concession instead of a franchise.

    It's a benefit scrounge undertaken by the rich.
     
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