Medway Labour Group response to formation of GB Railways

Medway Labour have noted the news from central government about the formation of Great British Railways and would of course welcome any reduction of years of fragmentation, confusion and over-complication. We also welcome the introduction flexible ticketing, something Labour has been campaigning for a long time.

However, this new system still does not deal with the issues of fragmentation and the franchising of the rail network. It is still run for profit by private companies, but now under a ‘GB Railways’ mask.

Medway has one of the highest numbers of commuters into London, and those 17,000+ Medway commuters deserve better!

It now costs a commuter from Rainham £6,428 to travel to London, which is far too much.

Ultimately, what commuters want is for the trains to be affordable and to run time. In an era when climate change is a clear and present danger, we should be encouraging more people to use public transport, including our trains, which are a vital public service and should not be used as a vehicle for profit, as they have been in the years since privatisation.

Medway Labour Regeneration Spokesperson Simon Curry said:

“This Government talks about deteriorating rail services run by the private sector and then in the same breath says that fares will have to increase to sort it out. This is a policy which has failed to serve the people of Medway for years!

We firmly believe that privatisation has severely damaged our railways. The “bite sized” franchises were supposed to reduce the cost for rail travellers but have instead cost them more and more each year, doubled the cost to the country in real terms and left us with a fragmented service with no vision.

Here in Medway we understand the frustrations of our commuters and those of us who want to use the rail network as a sustainable and environmentally friendly way of travelling.

We are lobbying hard to get the rail link to Hoo reinstated as part of the new developments there and we want to see investment in the railways that brings about lower fares and more reliable services.”

Medway Councillor and London Commuter Naushabah Khan said:

“What commuters are interested in is their trains being reliable, on time and affordable. Far too many times Medway commuters have to endure trains being cancelled, being late or missing carriages, meaning that by the time they pass through Medway they are already full and we have to stand in the aisle, paying thousands of pounds a year for the privilege.

Changing the name isn’t going to help Medway’s commuters – only serious investment in rail infrastructure and rolling stock will do that”

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