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How can travel by train be improved?

10:17 UK time, Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Overcrowding on trains in England and Wales will get substantially worse over the next four years despite rises in ticket prices, a report by MPs says. What are train services like where you live?

Plans by the UK's Department for Transport suggest targets for increasing passenger places will be missed, and that it was "not clear to passengers" how money from fare rises was spent. MP Margaret Hodge expressed concern that the "already unacceptable levels of overcrowding will simply get worse and ever more intolerable".

Rail travel in the UK is expensive by European standards - a report by watchdog Passenger Focus published in 2009 found that, on average, fares were 50% higher in Britain than in the rest of Europe. For average journeys of 11 to 25 miles, an annual travelcard in would cost £444 in Italy, £990 in France and the grand total of £1,860 in Britain.

When it comes to speed and punctuality, Rail Europe claims that Swiss Federal Railways is Europe's most timely railway and China can boast the world's biggest high-speed rail network.

Are you a regular train user? What is your experience of train travel where you are? Are trains overcrowded? Do you feel confident that you'll reach your destination on time when you buy a train ticket? Are trains value for money where you live?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge said: "there is no incentive for the rail industry to supply extra capacity without additional public subsidy."

    How typical of a labour politician - if they wont provide what is required within their existing subsidy, then the subsidy should be reduced for not meeting their DoT targets, sorry but the NuLibore gravy train is over!

  • Comment number 2.

    The Rail Companies are already on the job - they are going to push fares up as high as they possibly can...

    But, seriously, we have an enormous problem simply because no politician has thought through the problem of public transport and how it needs to be run, coordinated, and provide a real service.

    Currently it is a dog's dinner and an expensive one at that.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    How should train overcrowding be tackled?

    ----

    You could get rid of a couple of first class carriages on the London to Birmingham trains.

    The amount of times i've been on when its standing room only in cattle class whilst first class is completely deserted suggests that supply of first class carriages far outstrips demand.

  • Comment number 5.

    Overcrowding on trains? Wow seems like the train is the only form of "public" transport. What about buses, they're overcrowded as well!!

    The whole "public" transport system is becoming 3rd world in it's nature.

    Buses/trains are never on time at peak commuter times. They are overcrowded. They break down. And people are invariably late for work on a regular basis.

    I get up at 06:00, I leave my house at 07:00 for a journey to Colchester, Essex, 16 miles west of where I live, to work. By car this journey should take 30 - 45 minutes, but I use "public" transport, in this case the bus, I have also in the past (last year) used the train, and either way it takes me 2hrs to reach my place of work.

    "public" transport is never going to be public transport when it's in the hands of a private companies.

    And until such a time as it is privatised, or we're all forced to drive cars, if we can afford it (many, like myself, simply can't even afford to start to learn to drive), the situation will not change.

    Things can and will only get worse whilst we have the wealthy running the country.

  • Comment number 6.

    Like it #3.

    Obviously it's the fault of the people. It's their fault that they turn up in great numbers, overcrowding the trains at the busiest points of the day.

    People should travel at different times, or not travel at all.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Well, whenever I go by train its off peak or long distance and is rarely uncomfortable or overcrowded, so I assume this is mainly referring to the commuter services. I used to do that. 4 years of commuting into London every day. It sapped the life away from me if I'm honest. I chose to change my job for one more local, give up the large pay cheque, not get hung up on having a new car and a bigger house. Now I'm far happier than I ever was and the reality is, having given up all the costs of working in London and all the rat-race parifinalia, I've got a greater disposable income now than I did then to spend on what I want to spend it on.

    Logic says that a more focused effort on getting jobs out of London and other large cities and spreading them a bit more would reduce the concentration on people moving in very defined corridors, probably allow more people to work closer to home and probably reduce the carbon footprint related to travel.

    The counter argument is of course that you'd loose the cost benefits and scale economies of squeezing everyone into the South East.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yawn yawn yawn! I didn't realise this was a new issue - I've always thought rush hour travel was disaster - slow news day today BBC......? I think there should be a drive to encorage employees to work remotely - then I wouldn't have to get out of my PJs to come to work!

    Have a great day ;-)

  • Comment number 11.

    Trains in this country are shocking. The overcrowding in south east london on the trains is ridiculous and causes huge hositlity between passengers, when really they should be venting their anger towards those that have raised the fares substantially over the past 10 years without having any empirical enhancements to the services.

    The fact that petrol prices are exceedingly high yet it is still usually cheaper to drive than it is to get the overcrowded trains just highlights how bad the situation has got.

  • Comment number 12.

    Since the government and train companies are so clueless in resolving this issue here are a few ideas:

    + Increase peak ticket prices. Reduce all rail subsidies could help.
    + Put on more trains on with greater capacity.
    + Encourage more home working and video conferencing.
    + End the ability to make UK travel (car or train) tax deductible.
    + Make home working/corporate video conferencing tax deductible.
    + Encourage home working for at least 5 staggered days/month.
    + Tax all company car parking spaces and on street car parking.

    These measures would at the margin reduce rail traffic and make it more profitable. Besides this there needs to be a block on all new office construction in Cities.Only brown field and existing office sites can be rebuilt. By limiting capacity costs would rise and so companies would need to look at new ways of working.

  • Comment number 13.

    The real problem is that politicians never ever think a problem through to its logical conclusion. If it is deliberate government policy to increase the population especially in the south east then the public services will be stretched. You really don't have to be Albert Einstein to work that one out. We are told we need an increase in the population to get the best people and improve our competitive edge. The problem is there are no free dinners here and more people mean more schools, hospitals and of course more demands on our rail and roads. New labour introduced this policy and has now left others to sort out the mess. Its only contribution to the debate is more public subsidy. Well we all knew that was coming!

    Oh and by the way before anybody accuses me of being some daily mail reading racist I am not. I work in Europe and love doing so but we have to get the sums correct and as we know politicians cannot add up.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    get the bus, simple.... people need to stop moaning and do the talking with their feet. If the train is overcrowded then find alternative means of transport. I lived in North london, the tube drove me insane, so i secided on day to start walking to work etc, it took no longer than 45 mins to walk from north london to the city centre..... its so simple. if you live in birmingham and travel to london, then the options are limited but i wouldnt stand for it and pay to be squeezed on a train, cattle get treated better.

  • Comment number 16.

    3. At 10:38am on 09 Nov 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    Having carefully read the BBC article, I am at a loss to understand why the train overcrowding will get worse. You would think that the BBC would clearly explain that in the article, but they don’t. Behold the rubbish journalism of the BBC.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The reasons it will get worse are
    1. Population increase. 2.Rolling stock becoming unusable 3. Descision to increase the rolling stock made by previous government frozen. 4.Gridlock,high fuel prices and pressure for us to lower our carbon footprint.
    ....................................................
    As for how to deal with it, I would have thought that when the Tories decided to sell it along with the other family silver (they didn't own) that these companies were meant to stand on their own and meet standards and requirements.
    Instead the obvious has happened. First Priority is Dividends for Shareholders, Secon Priority is Profits for bonuses, Third is safety (not out of care but for fear of prosecution).
    Passengers seem to be a minor annoyance that should be treated worse than the rules that govern the transport of livestock.
    Re-Nationalise the lot. After all we are still subsidizing the so called private business.
    Perhaps an enlightened government may stop trying to see as Infrastructures such as transport, shouldn't be an area only to make money but to help industry and commerce grow.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    To help solve overcrowding on the trains means more investment.There are to be no toll roads and no gps set-top boxes in cars.There is to be no move of road tax onto the petrol pumps,so introducing pay as you drive.The move to alternative fuels for cars is very slow,so we continue to build carbon dioxide making machines to get around.
    We should double the national road tax for cars only and allow all devolved parliments and english councils, the right to raise a local road tax.All this extra money used to invest in public transport,especially the railways.Open up as many of the beeching lines that were closed and cut the price of fares.

  • Comment number 19.

    In the opinion of many the privatisation of the rail system was a privatisation too far.

    This particular former public service is probably costing as much to subsidise as it did when it was a nationalised industry. However it appears to most to be less efficient and more costly to the private citizen.

    We the tax payer are paying for the over inflated salaries of the board members of bloated Transport Companies and for the Board Members of the engineering companies as well.

    How can these companies pay dividends while getting public money?

    No share dividend until you stop taking taxpayers money would be the best for the public purse.

    The tax payer is actually funding private sector jobs.

    Nationalisation may not be the easy answer but could it be the cheapest option for the taxpayer?

  • Comment number 20.

    Fine the operators for not providing a service and stop them from accepting money knowing that the passengers will have no seat.
    We, the taxpayer, pay twice...once in subsidies and then again in the fares.

  • Comment number 21.

    9. At 10:52am on 09 Nov 2010, SystemF wrote:
    3m+ immigrants in a short space of time tends to put stress on public services. Did the BBC omit that from their article by 'accident'?

    The left wing screwed up the country and we're all paying for it with NHS problems, public transport problems, housing problems and terrorism.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Of course, none of those problems existed before 1997. Your pathological hatred of "the left" is both tiresome and juvenile. It might be worth at least occasionally attempting to apply a broader critique than "it was the left wot dunnit". If only to alleviate the boredom.

  • Comment number 22.

    Well on my network, the standard capacity was REDUCED when they brought in the high speed trains.

    Except that for many of us, HS1 is useless. Why go to StPancras, only to get a tube to Victoria or Charing X. Total time saved? Well maybe 5 minutes, on a good day.

  • Comment number 23.

    All public transport systems, trains and buses, in the UK are rubbish and totally uncoordinated. They are hamstrung by armies of non jobs and "civil" servants.
    All fares should be set the same irrespective of time of travel.
    Get rid of "first" class.
    Only those who book in advance, are disabled, medically unfit or pregnant should be entitled to seats.
    Impose and enforce severe penalties on those who try to cheat fares, occupy reserved seats, dump bags on seats in order to selfishly prevent others sitting next to them.
    A good penalty would be banning of travelling by public transport for a period of time. If you lose your job or home because of such a ban then tough - don't cheat.

  • Comment number 24.

    There are clearly two ways to sort this out...
    a) Return the entire rail network, operating companies, supply companies et al to public ownership and run them properly (without shareholders or the need to pay huge bonuses it has to be cheaper - if you can't do it efficiently then find someone who can - I could!)

    OR

    b) Instead of the disgusting mess made by Thatchers government of the privatisation return to the pre nationalisation 'big four' arrangement giving a SINGLE company in each region the responsibility for trains, power, rail etc. etc. etc. Allow them the choice of what engines to use - electric, diesel, steam.... Allow them to build extra lines and extra stations to satisfy demand... Allow them to charge what they require for passengers and freight in order to balance income and profit - maybe that means lower fares and lower frieght charges to attract customers... Allow them to lose trade if they fail to improve or price things correctly... Above all prevent them being able to pass the buck - safety of the track, stations, signals, engines, carriages, wagons is the responsibility of ONE company, scheduling the frieght and passenger trains is ONE company, running specials for football or rugby matches, holiday saturdays etc. is ONE company. The GWR ran special trains for holidays, ran holiday camps, airlines, road distribution, freight, passengers, all the motive power, added and removed tracks, stations, facilities as needed. It was a successful enterprise. LMS, LNER and Southern all similarly - competing to be the most glamourous, most powerful, fastest... and leading the world.


  • Comment number 25.

    People get angry with each other when they should be getting angry at the providers of these transport services.

    People stuck in traffic get angry with each other when they should be angry with the council road guys who create gridlock with goofy traffic systems.

    There's no point being angry with the symptom of this malaise, which is frustration and stress, only by going after the root cause will an effective cure be found.

  • Comment number 26.

    The problem stems from people having to leave London due to house prices but having to return there for work, in addition to those who have never lived in London who also have to travel in.

    What we are witnessing is the government's cunning plan to destroy the infrastructure by 'allowing' it to decline. Are you seriously telling me they do not know how to deal with situation as simple as this, considering the years of experience and expertise at hand?

    Like our taxes, fare rise surplus is most likely being used to pay the EU or toward another external interest outside of the UK.

    Like predicted soem years ago, the living standards of the UK and the US are going to drop dramatically. Give it 5 years and we'll all be cycling with car owndership reserved for the privileged few.


  • Comment number 27.

    Make it illegal to have passengers stand which is a saftey hazzard. All passengers should be entitled to a seat.

  • Comment number 28.

    As we return to the Victorian age, we'll see more and more of this type of "squeezing" (no pun intended) of us workers.....it's time the powers that be worked for us, rather than the other way around....

  • Comment number 29.

    The problem lies with the fact we now have the most passengers since the 1940s but the network has been halved in terms of route miles and what remains has been rationalised to cater for, what was until privatisation, falling passenger numbers. To reinstate the closed network, which was built over 75 to 100 years, would require immense investment just as it did back then.

    Modern trains have been designed in fixed formations of 2, 3 or 4 car sets. To add "just another carriage" would require either moving sets from elsewhere or building additional sets, which again requires great investment. There may be an imbalance of standard and first class carriages but that can't be changed without buying new trains.

    Finally, just a few comments in and we already have people blaming immigrants for the overcrowding, as if immigrants do nothing all day apart from riding on trains, when they should instead be cleaning the houses of those complaining.

  • Comment number 30.

    This issue is quite laughable.

    The Tory Goverment made our rail network fall into private hands. No Country in Europe has followed this idea as trains are a public service. Then the private firms wanted money to run the service and again the tax payer was fleeced into giving millions of pound a years to the railways.

    Now the trains are overcrowed in the rush hour and giving hardly any value of money to those who travel on them. We have the most expensive fares in Europe and poor unrelable service from the railways. The Tubes are so overcrowded that we are treated worse then cattle for an expensive fare. I say re-nationised the whole lot and bring in people who can invest in the rail network. We want real investors who care about transport rather then making money. Yes I know...dreamworld again.

  • Comment number 31.

    The government should use the slack in the economy to launch a massive railway infrastructure programme financed by public borrowing. This will reduce unemployment in the short term and in the long-term will raise Britain's productive capacity and thus ensure that we will have the means to repay the public debt.

  • Comment number 32.

    How many people struggle into their office on a weekday, but could actually do their job from home?

    Time for employers to be dragged into the 21st century, I think. People can be trusted to do their job when they're not chained to a desk.

  • Comment number 33.

    I tavel regularly on the London Overground. Short of people being held aloft and passed along the carriage it's difficult to see how you could get more people on. There are plans to lengthen the trains. Can't come soon enough if you ask me.
    It might also help if the conductor could give a multilingual "let people of the train first" anouncement for the benefit of the approx 70% of passengers for whom english seems to be a second language.

  • Comment number 34.

    Too many people for the resources we have.............emmmmm I wonder what any sensible person would suggest ?

    It’s a bit like my pint glass, I really love beer, but when my glass is nearly full I slow down with the pouring, and when it’s full I stop pouring more beer into the glass.

    Now its not that I hate beer when I say no more, its just there is no more room in my glass and I don’t want to cause a mess by over filling it.

  • Comment number 35.

    Not enough room on present trains. Answer - make the trains longer and the promblem solves itself.

    Why is it that common sense answers are always overlooked?

  • Comment number 36.

    Back in the 70`s when it was "British" Rail, the trains may not have been so clean and the toilets were a bit strange to say the least.
    But I always had a seat, I found 90% of the trains run on time and the Station Staff were always helpful and courteous.
    I used British Rail when going home on leave and returning to my ship and I have nothing but praise for them.
    The prices were reasonable for return tickets, but today I can`t believe the state that rail service is in.
    I`m just so glad that I do not have to travel the 300 miles again to retuirn to me ship.
    I would have to take out a large loan to purchase a ticket and most probably stand for the 300 mile journey.
    Ahh, British Rail, they had their faults, but were not as disorganised as todays ridiculous rail companies who are only interested in keeping their shareholders happy and putting up rail fare prices.

  • Comment number 37.

    Offer people more working from home opportunity wherever possible. Lay on more trains at peak time - run less trains at off-peak to make up for it if required.

    DO NOT charge more - this simply defeats the point of getting people to use public transport. Overcrowding on certain trains is a symptom of poor resource management, nothing else.

    Finally, don't bother blaming 'da immagrunts' on this topic. It's tiresome and should you actually have the misfortune of having to travel on sub-par public transport you'd realise that immigrants generally travel on coaches which are far cheaper.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    My partner travels by train for 4 hours a day to get to/from work (there aren't any jobs in his sector nearer to home) and system is breaking down. Once he reaches Birmingham his connecting train is usually only 4 carriages long and crammed to the brim with commuters . It's very rare for him to get a seat.

    The train company running this stretch have made no promises to increase rolling stock and with increasing passenger numbers things can only get worse. BUT they have very kindly just increased his season ticket by £600 a year as of next month. Money is tight enough as it is without this added on top.

    When will something be done to stop the train companies raising fares with NO improvement to service - since privatisation no government has been willing to tackle this problem!

  • Comment number 40.

    Well I remember in the 80's, trains had three times as many carriages as they do now. That would solve a lot of over crowding and is so obvious.

  • Comment number 41.

    9. At 10:52am on 09 Nov 2010, SystemF wrote:

    3m+ immigrants in a short space of time tends to put stress on public services. Did the BBC omit that from their article by 'accident'?

    The left wing screwed up the country and we're all paying for it with NHS problems, public transport problems, housing problems and terrorism.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What a load of complete and utter tosh. There`s one reason alone that public transport is the way it is, and that`s privatisation. You only have to look at those companies that were privatised such as transport, the selling off of council housing and the energy companies to know that profit is what drives them. That equates to the biggest profit at the lowest cost. So now you have fewer trains with less carriages and sky high fares to satisfy shareholders and a bonus driven management, and as i recall all this began under a conservative government

  • Comment number 42.

    Fairly obvious, its about profit not comfort. The rail companies are a shambles,total mess, for almost a century it has been an infrastructure problem that no one wants to face up to. The Tories destroyed what little was left of the railways with the Beeching Axe. They promised better bus services and cheaper public travel, still waiting! What annoys me is that in principle people really love travelling on trains. The way forward is not the proposed fast high speed link, it is the reopening of branch lines. For example the now closed line from Penrith to Keswick and beyond would today be a fantastic railway, and there are many more examples.
    It is still in the pipeline to close the Lancaster to Leeds via Carnforth railway, which would be a disaster. The Tories are not so fussed about cuts when it comes to road building, no change there then, and are quite happy to spend hundreds of millions on a by-Pass in Lancaster. I challenged my Tory MP who was dreaming about opening Carnforth to mainline trains again! A total joke. Lancaster, a major city, two universities, is being used less and less by mainline services, with city link passengers having to change at Preston to connect with stops to Lancaster, all to knock yet more minutes of the Virgin Pendolino running from London to Glasgow!
    The problem is profit and reluctance to spend on infrastructure, same old story.
    More branch lines, more coaching stock, simple!

  • Comment number 43.

    Part of the solution would be to give employees the legal right to flexible working so they can start work anytime between 7 and 11 spreading the rush hour out over a longer period, any companies that insist employees have to be in at a certain time should have to compensate the employee with £1000 per year, this would have the side effect of producing a happier more productive workforce, of course in the Corpocracy we live in theres zero chance of this happening..

    Train companies should also introduce off peak travelcards at reduced rates to encourage people to travel outside the ususal rush hour e.g. catch a train before 7 and get on the return journey before 5 and you get a 20% discount, also there should be 4 day a week travelcards making it more economic to work from home one day a week.

  • Comment number 44.

    @1 Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge said: "there is no incentive for the rail industry to supply extra capacity without additional public subsidy."

    Correct though. Because of the way Thatcher privatised the rail system in all sorts of chunks they can blame each other....
    The train operating companies can't get the rolling stock because its the rolling stock providers problem
    The train operating companies can't run extra trains because rail track can't provide the extra rails
    The stock provider can't provide extra stock because the contract it can sign with the train operating company can't last long enough (because the franchise is too short).
    The stock provider can't provide more stock because it won't fit on the rail track provided platforms
    Rail track can't sort out the track becuase the operating companies can't guarantee to use it for long enough
    Rail track can't provide the extra platforms because there aren't trains to use it....


    If BR had been broken into the old 'big four' with each having total responsibility in their region then it might have worked.

    As it is none of them have any incentive to make life better value for customers - the government keeps pushing up the price of fuel, car tax and car parking to make it uneconomical to switch to cars, it refuses to sort out the congestion charge, working from home or any thing else that would reduce demand (other than by, of course, chucking more and more onto the dole).

    If they spend money making things better then their franchise expires before they make the new profit so there's no business case.
    They can rack up huge bonuses at the top (not the poor guard who you can speak to) and they will swan off with a massive pension and more money than you can wave a stick at after 5 years anyway - whether you are comfy or not.

  • Comment number 45.

    The problems on the railways stem from the way they were privatised. It was a huge mistake to split up what was once a cohesive rail system. There is no incentive for the train operating companies to invest in expensive assets such as rolling stock when they have no guarantee that they will be operating long enough to get a full return. The only way forward is to get rid of the franchise system, which was only set up as a nod to the great false god "competition". Competition between the railways and other modes of transport seems to have been ignored. The operational side of the railway should be rejoined to the infrastructure side and the whole rail industry should be run as a single entity. That would not necessarily preclude other operators from buying access to the system eg to run freight trains or to supply other niche markets. But one thing is undeniable, privatisation in its present form does no favours for the commuter or the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 46.

    The news keeps talking about the likelihood of getting a seat - oh my god, being able to get on the train at all would be a good start!!! It is a joke how busy the trains are at rush hour, and prices are just going up so that train companies make a profit!

  • Comment number 47.

    Mr Cameron has a golden opportunity whilst in China to ask how do they do it. How do 1.3 billion people get around in China and have the highest industrial productivity rate in the world.
    Back here in broken Britain, the railways were privatised, the rails fell apart and trains crashed due to fat cats creaming off all the profits. Now it's publicly owned it's too popular, but other countries manage that situation, even in Peru!

  • Comment number 48.

    "Are you a regular train user?"
    Not currently, but I was a regular commuter into London a few years ago & my hubby commutes now.

    " What has been your experience of train travel?"
    Apalling. Irregular service, out of condition stock (in some cases quite seriously damaged stock is allowed back onto the railways) & absolutely filthy trains. The lack of staff on trains has also lead to them being, on some occasions, unpleasant & sometimes threatening places to be.

    " What should be done to alleviate the problem of overcrowding?"
    A good start would be to make first class tickets prebookable only, then a certain amount of carriage space can be allocated to accommodate the booked first class passengers, this will eliminate regular passengers crowding like sheep with an unused first class carriage next door.

    "Are trains value for money?"
    No, the prices are exhorbitant for the service recieved. If I got that kind of value for money in any other sector I'd demand a bloomin refund!


  • Comment number 49.

    How to tackle overcrowding?

    There must be a reason why this is a problem in the UK but not so much on the continent.

    # invest all you can in widening the loading gauge of the tracks and carriages so you can run trains with some space inside. One may even be able to run double decker coaches as they do on the continent.

    # test all trains thoroughly before they go into service. Then they wouldn't break down so often. This has been neglected on the continent as well and they've had their lesson...

    # introduce refund rights for passengers who can't find a seat for more than 60% of their journey.

    Finally: It's NOT the immigrants who are responsible for overcrowding. They are all fare payers, whoever gets on the train.

    And just imagine politicians get worse and increase motoring costs further- we'd all be stuck with our neighbour on our feed and his germs in our head, not being able to turn around or read a paper on a train.

  • Comment number 50.

    Well having just been on the road at peak time for the first time in a while, all I can say is that there is just as much overcrowding on the roads as on public transport. I find it absolutely incredulous that everyone has to travel at the same time and even more ridiculous is the distance that people travel.

    Why do we have more traffic on the roads during school term time? Why can't people live closer to school/work?

    Why are people blaming the government for their own personal lifestyle choices? Sort yourselves out. You made the decisions to live how you do.

    I chose where I live for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being access to public transport. OK, so we don't live in a particularly attractive neck of the woods but I don't have any transport problems. I start early and I finish early.

    The rail/bus system is perfectly adequate where I chose to live. A half hour rail frequency and 10 minute bus frequency. Can't argue with that. Rolling stock on the trains isn't an issue as out of peak hours they are always a quarter full.

    So, arrange your life around the transport system if you choose to live miles from where you work, don't travel at peak hours, have a friendly company who encourage flexible working and stop complaining. My only complaint against public transport is that I have to listen to the unreasonable whingers I have to share a carraige with. A good example of whom can be illustrated thus -

    Whilst on my train waiting for its departure we were informed by the train staff that we would be delayed because some lorry driver had driven into a bridge support further down the line and that the line needed to be checked out for safety - perfectly reasonable I thought and I figured that we were in for at least a half hour delay, if not more. After 10 mins or so this woman got out her mobile to agressively ask the operator on the other end of the rail customer service number when the train was going to go. She was sitting down - I was standing (my choice). Thank goodness for MP3 players.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    "3. At 10:38am on 09 Nov 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    Having carefully read the BBC article, I am at a loss to understand why the train overcrowding will get worse. You would think that the BBC would clearly explain that in the article, but they don’t. Behold the rubbish journalism of the BBC.

    Presumably the reason that trains are more overcrowded, is that the millions of immigrants brought into the country are using the trains. Change the law so that immigrants who should not be here ,can be sent back home; problem solved. Change the Law so that politicians who allow immigration which causes us to be overcrowded must be personally liable for the cost of all problems caused. In my opinion Labour party politicians have helped cause this mess , the Law should be changed so that they can be put in prison together with their trade union supporters."

    Of course you did forget to suggest that anyone from the Indian sub-continent should be made to cling onto the outside of the train - just like the railways back home!!

  • Comment number 53.

    19. At 11:05am on 09 Nov 2010, shillo wrote:
    In the opinion of many the privatisation of the rail system was a privatisation too far.

    This particular former public service is probably costing as much to subsidise as it did when it was a nationalised industry. However it appears to most to be less efficient and more costly to the private citizen.

    We the tax payer are paying for the over inflated salaries of the board members of bloated Transport Companies and for the Board Members of the engineering companies as well.

    How can these companies pay dividends while getting public money?

    No share dividend until you stop taking taxpayers money would be the best for the public purse.

    The tax payer is actually funding private sector jobs.

    Nationalisation may not be the easy answer but could it be the cheapest option for the taxpayer?

    ----------------------------------------------

    Presumably you are advocating that there is no support from taxation and that all transport revenue has to be gained from fares? Good idea. Bring it on. That'll solve the overcrowding problem. Well, shift it more to the roads. Then I guess you'll complain about traffic jams.

  • Comment number 54.

    Public transport should not be run at a profit, or be in private hands at all. Public transport is part of the infrastructure required in order to have a successful and powerful economy. It is not there to make money in its own right.

    The most profitable way to run a railway is rammed to capacity and that is what private companies will always do. You can only change this by distorting the market to make it more unprofitable to run overcrowded trains than not. Once you go down that route, you might as well take public ownership again and do the job properly, ie for benefit, not for profit.

  • Comment number 55.

    "There is no incentive for the rail industry to supply extra capacity without additional public subsidy." This quote demonstrates the problem with the government's attitude towards rail travel. They believe that only they can fix a problem with what's supposed to be a private industry!

    A good example of this problem is the DfT cascading 40 year old metro style trains from the North London line (Statford to Richmond) to the West Coastway route (Brighton-Worthing), both very different routes with different passenger needs. The company receiving these unsuitable trains, Southern, has no say in the matter. Of course, passengers see the trains as Southern operated. This allows the government to wash their hands of any obvious blame for the problem.

    The reason I used this example is because the trains displaced from the Brighton-Worthing route have been sent up to London to work more suburban services there. A bit of common sense would dictate that high-density trains should be used on high-density routes. It's a classic case of the DfT attempting to fine-tune a fundamentally flawed system.

    Out of all the train operating companies (TOCs), only one of them has conditions in their franchise to actively reduced overcrowding, and that's Chiltern Railways (London-Banbury-Birmingham). I used their services frequently for nearly 10 years, and not once have I had good reason to complain, given the difficulties that face the railways on a daily basis. They have helped bring a line that was nearly closed under British Rail into an efficient and reliable service, and are currently working with Network Rail to make further improvements to allow more trains to run, as well as at reduced journey times. This has been acheived by the company having a long franchise (until at least 2022!) and with minimal micromanagement from the DfT.

    The purpose of the government should be to set regulation and expectations of the rail companies, but it should ultimately be up to the industry itself as to how they fix their own problems!

  • Comment number 56.

    Why don't we look at countries that don't have this problem and copy what they do? The same goes for providing health care, education etc.

    I suspect that might just be because these countries such as Italy, France etc. simply put straight Socialist principle into application.

  • Comment number 57.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 58.

    Increase the capacity of the trains. e.g. additional carriages and seating layouts similar to budget airlines, especially during peak travel times.

  • Comment number 59.

    All the hot air coming from anti-immigration racists here should be able to provide enough energy to fuel many more trains. Problem solved.

  • Comment number 60.

    "How should train overcrowding be tackled?

    Well, - for starters the guys who run the railways in the UK should go on a collective junket to some countries in Western Europe so they can take a leaf out of FS (Italy) and others' books.

    First class (walk on, peak time) fares in the UK are about three times the price of the same fares in Italy for comparable journeys. The price differential for Standard class is the same. The only times I've ever had a problem with getting a seat were during strikes, when reduced services were in force. Reservations are compulsory on all intercity trains - and if someone is illicitly in your seat the guard will soon have them out - unlike their lily-livered UK counterparts. The trains are fast, clean and safe - no aggressive drunks etc.

    I have no experience of commuter travel in the UK or Italy so I can't comment on this aspect.

  • Comment number 61.

    Punish the greedy train companies for over selling space. If you don't get a seat on a train, you should get a full refund on the ticket price. That would solve the problem in days rather than weeks.

  • Comment number 62.

    26. At 11:15am on 09 Nov 2010, LordP wrote:
    The problem stems from people having to leave London due to house prices but having to return there for work, in addition to those who have never lived in London who also have to travel in.

    -----------------------------------------

    Your choice, you could always move to where transport is better. I put access to public transport as one of the key factors when deciding to choose where I live.

    ---------------------------------------------

    What we are witnessing is the government's cunning plan to destroy the infrastructure by 'allowing' it to decline. Are you seriously telling me they do not know how to deal with situation as simple as this, considering the years of experience and expertise at hand?

    ---------------------------------------------

    Hang on! Haven't we just elected a new government. Are you saying that all governments are the same and have the same underlying agendas?

    ----------------------------------------------

    Like our taxes, fare rise surplus is most likely being used to pay the EU or toward another external interest outside of the UK.

    Like predicted soem years ago, the living standards of the UK and the US are going to drop dramatically. Give it 5 years and we'll all be cycling with car owndership reserved for the privileged few.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Well, we have been living on borrowed money for quite some time now and are not in a position to pay it back quickly. Cycling to work. Seems like an excellent idea to me. Best thing you have said. Less cars, less pollution, less noise, more disposable income. Let's start tomorrow.

  • Comment number 63.

    Where a finite resource is being used by a growing number of people some sort of rationing is inevitable. Pricing according to supply and demand is the usual system of rationing. It is called a 'market'.

  • Comment number 64.

    The Major government privatised the rail network is such a manner to ensure the incoming Labour Govt could not re-nationalise it.
    Blair's NuLabor project never addressed the problem of creating an integrated transport system.
    The private rail companies sacked drivers, guards and track work gangs to save money. They cancelled new carriages and trains while jacking up prices, they also receive more tax-payers money than British Rail ever did.
    The rail companies are trying to run their rail operations like flight operators, they want advanced bookings, hence the ridiculous prices if you don't book in advance. They view commuters as cash cows, to be milked dry.
    We are in trouble when the rail regulator's solution to overcrowding is to allow the rail companies to increase prices to drive passengers, sorry customers, off the trains.
    The solution to overcrowding, more trains with more carriages at peak times.
    I expect some free-market apologist to point out how unreasonable that idea is. While they are doing so they can also explain how a return fare of £1000 for a journey from London to Glasgow can be justified.

  • Comment number 65.

    I am soooo fed up with poor service and even poorer excuses. I have complained many times and always complete the ‘compensation for your journey forms’ In reply to my complaints, I have been given statistics on the train companies 'good' service within Gov recommendations! All I ask is for my yearly travel pass is to be gotten to work and back on time (at least 3 times a week would be a start), sitting on a seat. With a profit of 77.2M last yr for one particular company South East train comp, I think that is achievable, don't you?
    For all you complaining about overcrowding caused by immigrants, presumably these people are also on their way to work, therefore paying tax, NI etc, what’s your problem?
    The transport problem seems magnified in London but instead of using strength in numbers and complaining en mass, sheeple still shuffle along grumbling under their breath or moaning on HYS, so you prob deserve the transport system you have.
    Until the UK transport system is renationalised or we the people stand up to crappy service and treatment it’s going to get much, much worse! In the short-term, showers, deodorant and toothpaste go a LONG way to making a cramped journey more pleasant for everyone!

  • Comment number 66.

    I assume that the new East London Line was built to ease overcrowding in
    South East London.Why then are there so few people using those trains throughout the day.Overcrowding could also be eased if those self centred commuters put away their precious newspapers instead of taking up space in
    an already overcrowded area.

  • Comment number 67.

    I am afraid this is what comes of putting public transport in the hands of private companies. What did they expect to happen.

  • Comment number 68.

    DibbySpot do you actually catch the train to work, if so you must earn too much money if you think raising the fares are a solution.

    I managed to persuade my company to allow me to travel by train on company business. This was very difficult as company policy is to use the car as this is cheaper for the company to reimburse.

    I cannot afford to use the train when I am with my family, it is simply not affordable to spend 4x the amount it costs in petrol, and if you think the solution to that is put up the price of petrol then there will be an almighty financial crash as no one will be able to afford to travel to work. Also how do you think food gets to the supermarket? You'd be looking at huge increases to the cost of things like food which would cause huge uncontrolled inflation.

    Some people just have no idea, they think to fix any problem they just need to Tax it. Many people are not able or not allowed to work from home, the incentives should be at the corporate end not the poor employee who just ends up getting it in the neck.

    I do work from home but it took a major cash shortage before they would entertain the idea.

    Although I do agree with you that corporations should get some sort of Tax break for allowing people to work from home. I have been thinking that for some time.

  • Comment number 69.

    "3. At 10:38am on 09 Nov 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    Having carefully read the BBC article, I am at a loss to understand why the train overcrowding will get worse. You would think that the BBC would clearly explain that in the article, but they don’t. Behold the rubbish journalism of the BBC."

    The main article explains it very clearly - the rail companies had targets for increasing passenger spaces to match rising numbers of passengers, which are they are predicted to fail to meet.
    In my opinion, the solution should not be even more subsidies, but a move to compel rail companies to put at least part of their profits into real improvements, instead of exclusively into shareholders' pockets.
    By the way, do people like you ever get tired of bashing the BBC? If it's so rubbish, why are you gracing its website? Obviously, plain and succinct journalism is only ever as good as its reader..

  • Comment number 70.

    A few comments
    Only 6% of transport journeys are by rail (EU stats) yet even that level gives massive overcrowding during rush hours and even outside those times. About 85% + are by car. So let's get real when the eco warriors argue for moving transport from road to rail. There is no capacity.
    Next, think about the recent sale of the Channel Tunnel high speed line for £2bn. That was a higher price than expected and we can assume the bid was made on the basis of a commercial return (and why not?). But the line cost £5bn to build. In other words, building railway lines and running them has to be subsidised. Question - why should a non-user pay through tax for the subsidised transport of others?
    Next - rail travel is basically a 19th century technology. Its infrastructure is incredibly expensive. Trains take a long time to stop, so the distance between trains is large and the usage of the track is very low. It would be cheaper, possibly less polluting, and for some distances actually quicker to tarmac over much of the railway network and allow only buses to travel on them. Lets cut the sentimentality and close some train lines. There are places where a train line with just 3 trains a day runs parallel to a road. Run a bus service instead!
    Next, the UK population has grown through immigration etc but spending on public and private transport networks alike has not. Question - how are people supposed to get around?
    And finally, if we are to have a rail service then the answer to overcrowding is more carriages. You cannot expect a commercial firm to invest without a return being available and I dont think they should be subsidised. The return will always be over the long term so the rail franchises need to be set to encourage that kind of investment.

    The whole thing is an ill thought out dog's breakfast.

  • Comment number 71.

    its pathetic i use the trains to get to work and mygirlfried uses them to see me she gets claustrophobic the trains are so crowded here a 5.6 8 stone girl can barely fit on the train then this sets off an attack its ridiculous they only have 2 carridge trains hardly any seats because there so inefficiently designed and toilets that are never in service.
    and to get through this every day i pay £9 same for my gf.
    and now to be told there going up 25% in price is beyond taking the pee!!!!¬

  • Comment number 72.

    A "mute" point perhaps - but the Railways were privatised - why on earth should they receive a public subsidy - just so they can pay "golden hello's", "golden handshakes" and other odious bonuses to the Fat Controller(s)??

    Instead we should insist they provide what is needed - and reduce any ongoing 'subsidy' if they don't achieve it.

  • Comment number 73.

    we deal with similar problems here in the Bronx, massive expenditure for new buses tons of art work in the subways, new tunnels for trains in Manhattan ( which is supersaturated with travel facilities ) private police forces for the subway etc etc. by the way, buses so packed impossible for the elderly to get a seat--want to change all this its really very simple--cut the budget by 25% and extract all resources from expensive neighborhoods--let them feel the pain--also encourage jitney services to really get people moving from point a to point b

  • Comment number 74.

    If you don’t get a seat then you should be able to get a partial refund of the fair.

  • Comment number 75.

    Have they learned nothing?! I was a toddler on a train stuck behind the carnage of the Clapham disaster, trains full to the brim of standing passengers, how lucky was my Family and I we couldnt get on the first train because we couldnt! Overcrowding will lead to more deaths should accidents occur.

  • Comment number 76.

    During the bad old days of British Rail, rush hour trains in large urban areas ran with longer trains. In the brave new world of privatisation, the bean counters didn’t like the thought of large numbers of trains standing in depots for most of the day, so off to the scrap yard they went.

    The railways today cost the tax payer far more in real terms than BR ever did. The reason for this is simple, political dogma dictated that the private sector can always do better. The result, trains are now operated by a ragtag bunch of bus companies who’s only objective is to make as much as much profit as possible through crippling fares whilst running trains on the cheap. This is why instead of providing extra capacity on peak time trains, train operators attempt to price passengers off of trains.

    Of course ATOC, the spin doctors for the train operators, will always gloss over the reality in support of their paymasters, but one only has to look at mainland Europe and see how they regard well run and well resourced public transport as an asset to society and not a cash cow for profiteering bus companies.

  • Comment number 77.

    I don't understand why there is a problem:

    I always thought that the railway was privatised to allow it to go to the markets, get the funding it needs for expansion and become a world class service.


    Oh, yes! I remember what happened......


    We got, as others have pointed out, a third-world service at mega-buck prices, which just keep on going up year on year.

    The whole experiment in privatising the rail system was a complete failure, and it should be reversed - allowing government money, which is currently subsidising a series of private companies, to be invested in a public transport infrastructure.

    I mean, look what happened to RailTrack......!

  • Comment number 78.

    As usual with regards to trains and many other aspects of British life it is overpopulation and successive governments lack of interest in tackling it that is the real problem.
    Increase train capacity and lengthen station platforms and in another few years we will be back in the same position but with less room for manoeuvre

  • Comment number 79.

    I don't understand why the various rail companies can't deal with this issue. More trains with more carriages at peak times. It isn't rocket science. Several times a year the fares are increased with the flimsiest justification and yet the overcrowding gets worse. What are they doing with all the money? Why are they not buying more rolling stock? What is going to happen in 2012 when the Olympics roll into town? Presumably they are planning on installing TVs on all the carriages because the ticket holders will all be stuck on trains instead of in the stadium! If this government had any backbone they would take hold of this problem right now and fix it - and don't tell me that they couldn't do it if they really wanted to or had the will or the guts, because they could.

  • Comment number 80.

    62. At 11:54am on 09 Nov 2010, Sue Doughcoup wrote:

    Your choice, you could always move to where transport is better. I put access to public transport as one of the key factors when deciding to choose where I live.

    ======================

    Not everyone can afford to simply move where transport is better. Not everyone can afford to move full stop.

    -----------------------

    Hang on! Haven't we just elected a new government. Are you saying that all governments are the same and have the same underlying agendas?

    =======================

    No. We didn't elect them. They elected themselves. But yes, actually, they are all the same. Tories, Labour, Libs - all centre-right rich boys who are self serving.

    ---------------------------

    Well, we have been living on borrowed money for quite some time now and are not in a position to pay it back quickly. Cycling to work. Seems like an excellent idea to me. Best thing you have said. Less cars, less pollution, less noise, more disposable income. Let's start tomorrow.

    =========================

    There are already cycle to work schemes.



    Our rail issues were caused solely by privatisation. The UK rail infrastructure is the worst in Europe and wins that title by a very, very long way.

  • Comment number 81.

    One solution that wouldn't require significant investment up front would be to change the way organisations in cities do business. If they created more flexible ways of working then less people would need to commute, or more could commute at non peak times. I know that not everyone could work from home and that would require infrastructure investment in technology, but many people could work different hours to reduce the burden on trains at peak times. It would just take a step for businesses to allow some staff to start earlier and leave earlier and others to start later and leave later. Who is it that decided that we should work certain hours (eg 9-5)anyway?

  • Comment number 82.

    The British transport system has been an unmitigated disaster since the Beeching axe fell.

    For a reason I cannot fathom, the necessary infrastructure to move people from one part of the country to the other has been denied essential investment and has been operated by companies lacking relevant skills, efficiency and competence. No-one, least of all the rail companies themselves, can deny this; the evidence is there for all to see.

    I now use BR very infrequently. Ticket costs are exhorbitant in relation to general comfort and time-keeping. Regular travellers have my sympathy.

  • Comment number 83.

    I wish more people had a clue in knowing how to use a train whilst commuting.

    When you're in the train, and there's seats available, always sit to the one closest to the window, that way others needn't go through the trouble of squeezing past you to reach the other seats (unless your travel is short).

    If there's no seats available, and you have to stand - STAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CARRIAGE - not in front of the entrance door! Use all space available for goodness sake.

    People in London know these things, but the clueless people not from London - or tourists, or stupid fat Americans - don't know the first thing about using a train.

    Oh, and stand on either sides of the door to let passengers come out, THEN proceed to enter. Don't try and fight the flow to go in whilst others are coming out. It's rude.

    One way of helping overcrowding is to use the trains smarter.

  • Comment number 84.

    38. At 11:23am on 09 Nov 2010, thomas wrote:
    If there is not enough room on the present rolling stock how about using some common sense and just make the trains longer.

    The problem would then solve itself - don't overlook the obvious.

    It's not that straightforward. If you make trains longer you need longer platforms so that people can get on and off them. Lengthening platforms is not easy, it usually requires considerable infrastructure change and, quite often, re-signalling to accommodate longer trains whilst maintaining a safe headway between them.

    I've been travelling to work on trains for more than 46 years now. Yes they are more crowded but they are now more reliable than they used to be. I've given up counting the times I've been told that fares must rise above inflation to pay for all the neccessary renewals and modernisation.

    There are two ways of reducing overcrowding:-
    1. Massive increases in infrastructure, e.g. another four tracks between Clapham and Waterloo.
    2. Reduce the need for travel in the first place, the technology exists now.

    With the current infrastructure we are trying to get a gallon into a pint pot, commuter lines into London are at maximum capacity during the peak, one minor problem - passenger taken ill for example - and the knock on delays are massive because there is no slack at all within the system.

    Oh, and just for good measure, the new Crossrail trains are being reduced from 12 cars to 10 cars to save money. How long after opening the line will it be overcrowded? There's no easy way to lenghten platforms in an underground situation.

    Finally, it Major who privatised the railways, not Thatcher.

  • Comment number 85.

    In my region there was a noticable improvement in capacity at peak times following 2 years of passengers staging 'fare strikes' that were heavily publicised on the BBC Local News and in the local press. The train company managed to 'redeploy' additional carriages from another part of the network and, hey presto, nearly everyone got a seat at peak commuter times.

    For about a year.

    Now the nicely refurbished carriages have been 'redeployed' again, and the region is using older, shorter trains which are in need of a lot of TLC. Many seats are in a bad state of repair on our 'new' trains and there is hardly any cycle storage capacity (which I find amusing, but cyclists do not).

    I foresee another 'fare strike' when the fares go up again in January.

  • Comment number 86.

    Simple answer is more trains, and a properly managed service.

    This country is ideally suited to a decent train service. And to those who suggest finding alternatives: what? Cars? Have you seen the roads nowadays? Cycles? Not so good for a 50 mile commute into a major conurbation? Buses? Have you seen the roads nowadays?

    Drinks parties in a brewery spring to mind, when it comes to failing to develop and deliver a proper transport strategy. You know the logistics of something become much easier when you know what you are going to do about it, and how...and then get on with it.

  • Comment number 87.

    The railway lines are suffering from the same problem as road travel - too many people in too small a space for the standard of living we expect. If we were all content to have a subsistence income and none of the benefits of a modern society there would be no problem. We want better of course, and why not. This means we have to travel a little though, in order to gain the benefits of greater efficiency and productivity that the geographic groupings of workplace brings. The problem is that in some areas we have gone too far and have exceeded the comfortable concentration of housing, so we end up with nightmare traffic jams and inadequate railway services.
    Why has this happened? Because the housing producers see the greatest profit in cramming more houses in the smallest spaces possible. It's a self-sustaining problem - house prices are high because jobs become concentrated because people have become concentrated there. So profits for construction firms will be high due to high prices and low infrastructure costs. And I suspect back-handers will be greater too - but that's another story.
    As for the answer - build more homes and business areas in less crowded areas. And maybe think about building new rail lines to them as well. Not the most profitable way of solving the problem, but I suspect it's the only way that will work!

  • Comment number 88.

    Simple - Forec the train comapnies to use their spare carriages, they deny they have.

    Get any train out of Waterloo between 4 and 5pm and you will see "unused carriages" parked on platforms. Yet the trains are often full and the companies charge peak time fares!

  • Comment number 89.

    after commuting for 7 years now all i ever see are fares going up with no change. Each year its the same number of carriages with more people getting on them. The only change is to the name of the operator painted on the side.

    Case in point, this week. The usual train i catch was reduced to 8 carriages from 12 for some unknown reason, there were plenty of empty carriages on trains going the other way, however it was also decided to add an extra stop in for that train so you ended up with even more people crowding onto an already overcrowded train. Safety? non existant.

    What will happen this year? national express east anglia (in my case) will take their extra % rise quite happily, give themselves some lovely bonuses, and we will still be getting on the same old trains with the same old carriages that we've been getting on for years.

    They have a captive audience, there is no other way of getting into work other than the train. Drive and park in the city? no chance. Bus route? nothing that would get me in on time. Im stuck with the trains and they know it. They have a licence to print money.

    Why do we have laws set in stone for the comfy transport of cattle yet absolutely nothing in place to deal with the transport of humans?




  • Comment number 90.

    On the SouthEastern commuter lines into London, we have an absurd situation. Most rush-hour trains are overcrowded because they are too short. Just before privatisation, BR lengthened almost all of the platforms to cope with longer 12-car trains. This cost many millions, involved closing London termini for weeks and tragically cost the lives of two workmen on the project.

    BR was then privatised, and the extensions stopped, leaving us with (mostly) long platforms and short trains. The recent solution is to provide new 10-car trains with even fewer seats than the 8-car trains they replaced; thus increasing revenue as they can squeeze more commuters on each train and also increasing the perceived overcrowding. Why not simply introduce 12-car trains which either don't stop at the handful of short platforms or which make use of Selective Door Opening to keep the back two carriages' doors closed? Money talks. It seems to be profit before passengers.

  • Comment number 91.

    This whole mess on the railways was caused by one factor :

    John Major's ill-judged and ideologically driven privatisation of the rail network, which was done in a deliberately piecemail fashion, in order to make it impossible for any future government to renationalise it.

    We are still living with the consequences of this poor decision today.

    The railways should be a national asset that belongs to all of us, instead of an elite of moneygrabbers.

  • Comment number 92.

    Trains overcrowded? Follow the money...

    Train operators are fine with overcrowding - the more passengers on a train the more profit they make. It's not worth their while buying new rolling stock until the number of extra passengers can pay for it.

    The problem is that they can't get extra passengers because they don't have space, and they won't buy extra trains until they get more passengers. It takes either the head of a train company to make that investment decision, or for the government to provide money for extra trains (which could be repaid from the addition passengers). For whatever reason, the train companies seem unwilling to invest in increased capacity. (Cue someone concluding it's greedy fat cats...)

  • Comment number 93.

    Part of the problem has been the short-term leases which the rail companies have over their respective sections of the network and the fact that they are not responsible for the track and signalling. Rail operators should be granted indefinite leases to run both trains and track to enable them to take a long-term view and so that the buck stops with the operator. The Rail Regulator would then be able to push for better conditions for passengers.

  • Comment number 94.

    The only way to solve the issues of train overcrowding is longer franchises.
    Train operator companies currently have little or no pressure to increase passenger space on trains. The only company that does is Chiltern.
    Chiltern trains has a 20 year franchise, this means they will invest in their rolling stock, invest in their stations and in their staff. Most of the other franchises are from 5-10 years, companies thus drive to profit making measures which include using old rolling stock, large first class areas and limited innovation in their services.

    As a railway employee I would welcome longer franchises that would encourage mutual investment in the railway with the ORR, Network rail and the TOC's.

  • Comment number 95.

    Increased rail fares = Cameron Stealth Tax

  • Comment number 96.

    Bring them under public ownership and crucify the directors if they cannot improve the service to te public.

  • Comment number 97.

    duh, how about an extra carriage or two?

    Or follow the example set in India... and use the roof space!

  • Comment number 98.

    The cross city line in Birmingham is running its "leaf on the line" service, where it has reduced the number of trains per hour so that the ones still running can arrive on time (which they rarely do). As such you have passengers for the cancelled train trying to get on to the earlier or later train respectively. Combined with the trains still running late anyway, then you get the next lot of passengers trying to get on to it as well. Throughout this they still operate trains with only 3 carriages instead of using the six carriage trains. The result is two or three trainsworth of passengers all trying to get onto one 3 carriage train. The operator says if the train is full wait for the next one. But as you can never rely on the next one arriving, everybody would rather squeeze onto the one that has finally arrived. This is madness. All they have to do is put more six carriage coaches on. How hard can that be?

  • Comment number 99.

    I am fortunate in that I have only experienced public transport twice in the last year.

    A journey from london to manchester at 6.30pm, people sat in my reserved seats eating hot food, we let them finish their meals and then took our seats. The remainder of the journey had people stood, sat or laid in the isles, even sat between the carriages. Surely this is a health and safety issue?

    Traveling by bus subjected me to many smelly, coughing, foul mouthed individuals that will encourage me to set more money aside to make sure I can always use my car.

    What is infuriating is that these companies receive our money as subsidy, provide a poor, inadequate service and yet still return a profit for the rich investors.

    As a comedian said on TV last night, I can fly to new york for less than a train ticket between 2 major uk cities!

    And What can you poor commuters do about it? Nothing!

  • Comment number 100.

    Our train network and treatment of it's passengers have become a disgrace.
    Countries that have a national transport policy treat their citizens much better and provide a much better qualitative service. - if in doubt, compare by travelling by SNCF rail in France.
    The message to givernment and the lrivate operators has to be, 'if you take the money (thousands p.a. for daily communters) you must provide a comfortable service'.

 

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