Earlier this week it was revealed that Northern Rail (owned by Arriva, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn) is in crisis talks with the British Government to arrange for a £282 million bailout. This comes after a year where Northern has gone from one crisis to another, it’s catastrophic mismanagement has led to misery for millions of passengers of the North and further shows that privatisation is unsustainable.
How the crisis has arisen?
Despite Northern receiving the highest amount of subsidy between 2016 & 2017 at £279 million, it has been announced that bosses are seeking to increase this number as passenger numbers fall. Yet, this latest crisis is completely unavoidable, Northern’s commitment to driver only trains and is part of a two year dispute between the RMT and how Northern bosses are willing to compromise safety in the name of profits. By the 13th of October, strike action had taken place on 31 days, further still further strikes have been announced on every Saturday continuing up to the 29th of December, meaning that there has been strike action on every single Saturday from the 29th of August onward in 2018.
Are bosses surprised then, that passengers have declined using their shambolic service this year? The talk about a truly 7 day railway is unfounded, as they can barely run one for 24 hours. Passenger numbers are slowing on the railways as people turn away from a bit-part service that boasts some of the highest prices in Europe.
According to statistics from Northern, between 16th of September and the 13th of October 2018, trains arrived at their destination just 48.4% of the time! How could we neglect the needless timetabling crisis that occurred in May 2018, where bosses were continually warned about the adverse effects that such changes would have, including those at the incompetent Department for Transport. It led to a temporary timetable and the Lakes line having no service at all for a number of weeks… Trains in other regions were regularly cancelled at least 10% of the time, with abysmal punctuality and reduced capacity.
A final comment – From Editor – Seb Chromiak
Time after time it has been shown that privatisation does not work, the quality of service is reduced, satisfaction falls and prices rise in order to keep shareholders at such companies happy. The Conservative government will very likely grant the bailout at the cost of the taxpayer, despite the fact that Northern has broken its franchise commitments and agreements. This is nothing short of a disgrace, after a budget that resembled the Labour manifesto, the Tory’s should bring the Northern franchise back into public ownership as they have done with the East Coast Main Line.