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ORR reveal 'free ride' for private franchises

16 February 2015

Passengers and taxpayers are carrying virtually all the financial burden for our privately run rail industry, the TSSA said today.

Commenting on the ORR financial report, which showed that passengers contributed £9 billion and taxpayers £3.7 billion, the union said the franchise holders made a tiny net contribution of just £43m after all their public subsidies were taken into account.

Manuel Cortes, union general secretary, said: "These figures reveal the true scandal of who carries the real burden in the privatised rail industry, the poor old passengers.

"While they paid put a record £9 billion last year to travel on trains that missed all their key punctuality targets, the private rail operators made a net contribution of just £43m after taking all their public subsidies into account.

"These firms are getting a free ride while passengers have to pay the highest fares in Europe. Meanwhile, they are laughing all the way to the bank as they getaway with daylight robbery.

"They are effectively parasites feeding off the industry. Passengers take all the strain and they make all the gain.

"Even Network Rail's £25 billion spend over the next four years on upgrades and new lines is all coming from the taxpayer.

"It's a scandal which has got to stop. We should have a publicly owned and publicly run railway, just like in the rest of Europe, where fares are much cheaper than here in the UK."

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