First Profits reveal Franchise system “broken” - TSSA

Money (£20 notes) in envelope with hand outstretched to take cash as a bribe

TSSA today slammed First Group’s £82.1m profits as evidence that privatisation is benefitting shareholders but failing passengers.

This came after First Group announced yesterday that underlying earnings had more than doubled to £82.1 million from £36.2 million last year.

In May First Group recently lost the contract for TransPennine Express (TPE) after an avalanche of complaints about poor services and cancellations going back many months.

TSSA Interim President Marios Alexandrou said, “First Group’ profits announcement shows just how broken the franchising system is.

“Last month First Group lost the TPE contract as a result of their poor management. Avanti, GWR and SouthWestern have been hit by rail strikes. Yet First are still making eye-watering profits because under the franchise system the tax-payer reimburses train operating companies for loss of earnings due to strike action.

“First Group’s profits are good news for shareholders, but not for taxpayers and passengers who’re propping up this broken franchise system. It’s high time all the railways were taken into public ownership and profits reinvested in better services for everyone."

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