Press Release: A Railway for Happier Customers

Responding to the publication of the Competition and Markets Authority’s consultation document, Competition in passenger rail services in Great Britain, CPS Research Fellow Tony Lodge states:

“We set out in 2013 to deliver an evidence based study to show that a more competitive railway could deliver lower fares, more routes, happier passengers, higher revenues and more passenger choice. Rail’s Second Chance – putting competition back on track showed that there was and is a very strong case to deliver more open access rail competition, alongside franchises, and to end the failed policy of allowing rail franchises to effectively operate as ‘railopolies’ where they can hike fares without any fear of passengers being able to vote with their feet. Where there is limited open access competition with franchises (on the East Coast Main Line) then fares are lower, passengers are happier, more routes are served and revenues are higher. In short the passenger enjoys competition and choice.

The CMA report is a victory for passengers; its running theme that competition is long overdue and must be delivered is a wake up call for the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR)”

Tim Knox, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies remarks:

“Competition in a free market is the mechanism by which everyone can become better off. The CMA document is a fantastic endorsement both of this principle, and of Tony Lodge’s conclusion in his Centre for Policy Studies report that greater competition on the railways will lead to more journeys, higher revenues for the train companies, greater efficiency and innovation. This will mean lower fares, and more and happier passengers.“

Tony Lodge is available for comment.

  1. Rail’s Second Chance‘, written by Tony Lodge and published by the Centre for Policy Studies in April 2013, demonstrated the economic and consumer benefits of more railway competition. The research, collected on the East Coast Main Line, between London and the North East, showed that where private ‘open access’ rail services competed with Government sponsored franchises the benefits were significant.
  2. To watch a short animated explainer of the report, click here.
  3. Tony Lodge is a research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies and an acknowledged energy and transport expert.

Date Added: Friday 17th July 2015