Sir Nicholas Soames’ demand for rail companies to lose their franchises (Mid Sussex Times Thursday December 31) is both timely and welcome. You do not,however, report him as having suggested any alternative.
The Green Party believes that the rail system, including track and operators, needs to be publicly owned, and would seek to bring the service back into public ownership. The division of rail and track companies into a competitive rather than a cooperative organisation, and the fragmentation of the rail industry into 100 companies by privatisation, has been disastrous for safety and reliability and the provision of an integrated service. The Green Party would overcome this through public ownership but also by making the rail service more democratically accountable at local and regional levels. (Interested readers can easily find the details of our transport policies by following the link https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/tr.html)
The Green Party has campaigned for this for some years; it was in our election manifesto and our MP Caroline Lucas has presented a Private Member’s Bill to parliament providing for the reversion to the control of the Secretary of State of private rail franchises when they come up for renewal. The Labour Party’s recent conversion to the same commitment is welcome if belated.
I am sure many of the long-suffering commuters of Mid Sussex will wish to support this initiative, or at least to press Sir Nicholas and the Government to suggest viable alternatives. More of the same is not among their options.
(Dr) Peter Wemyss-
Hickmans Lane, Lindfield
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