Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let Foreign Taxpayers Take the Strain of Rail Franchises

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let Foreign Taxpayers Take the Strain of Rail Franchises

Article excerpt

Byline: COMMENTARY Jim Armitage City Editor

SHARES in all Britain's public transport companies fell this morning except National Express. That tells you all you need to know about bidding for British rail franchises.

Why? Because National Express is the only one that hasn't bothered to bid.

National Express, once our biggest train operator, decided running UK rail franchises is so risky that it simply wasn't worth the candle. If others want to, then bully for them.

You can see its point. Rail franchises have always had more moving parts than the Flying Scotsman. Train operators have to guess the demand from passengers up to a decade in advance. Impossible.

But Brexit makes today more uncertain than ever. Nobody knows what impact leaving the EU is going to have on the population's movements. How much will it slow the economic growth of the South-East? How much will it speed the manufacturing exporters in the North? How skint and resistant to fare rises will passengers be? …

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