Response to Network Rail Bonuses

Evening Standard (page 57)
Thursday 30 May 2013

With ever increasing inequality in this country, the news of Network Rail chief’s big bonuses makes sickening reading for the growing numbers of normal working people who struggle to pay extortionate train fares.

The big question here is not the size of this specific round of bonuses (most alone are more than four times the average UK salary), but more whether such a fundamental public service as our railways should be run by the same loathsome bonus culture that dominates our disgraced banking sector.

This culture has, of course, resulted from the disastrous privatisation of British Rail in 1994, which attempted to ‘introduce a market’ into a sector where it is completely illogical to do so. Numerous private companies running different sections of the railway now ‘compete’ with each other when what we really need to make sure trains run on time, is cooperation.

The aim of a public transport system should be to provide the best possible service for everyone. This is essential in an age where we must drastically reduce our collective C02 emissions by encouraging more people to use trains rather than gas guzzling cars or short-haul flights. The only way we will achieve this is by bringing back British Rail and creating a newly reunified public transport system run for people not profit.

But in the short-term, while we continue to fight for this common sense solution to become a reality, we must demand that these bonuses are not handed out to individuals (who have failed to do their jobs), but are invested back into the railway network for the benefit of all.

Ellie Harrison
Founder, Bring Back British Rail

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