Rail could cost £6bn per year without government reform

An analysis by UK think tank Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) argued that without a complete makeover, the network will fall into a decline and underinvestment scenario that could force the government to either increase income tax or cut services to revive it.

“The pandemic fundamentally changed the nature of rail in the UK,” said the report’s author Tony Lodge.

“The government has the opportunity – through the new Great British Railways body – to radically overhaul the current model to make sure that it is fit for purpose and able to meet modern passenger demands.”

CPS figures highlighted that post-Covid the number of people commuting everyday at peak times is at 15 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, as most commuting now takes place between Tuesday and Thursday.

As a result of more flexible working patters, Mondays and Fridays are respectively 20 and 50 per cent below 2019 levels.

According to Lodge, through the institution of Great British Railways, the UK Government should aim to deliver a simpler and more flexible system, boosting private investment and abolishing peak fares.

“Frankly, if the government doesn’t implement these reforms, there is no certainty that rail will have a future and taxpayers will inevitably be forced to foot the bill for its decline,” he explained.

Read more in City A.M. here.

Date Added: Tuesday 17th May 2022