Thursday, January 05, 2006

At Last, Live Coverage of the Piss-Ridden Realities of London!

Today, my railway season ticket went up by 7.5%. And, as if to thank me, tonight I returned home in a seat next to this charming pool of unidentified dark liquid!

Unidentified dark liquid on train seat. Look, it's realistically got to be piss.

Mind you, at least I'm not yet as stupid as Conservative transport spokesman Chris Grayling, who found his plaice in history yesterday by announcing that "They're using the fares to manage demand. British Rail used to do this - whenever the trains got full, they hiked the fares. Now, since the government took over the railways again, they're at it again."

So - he thinks the railways should be run by private enterprise. Presumably he thinks this because private firms will react more speedily and accurately to the signals of the price mechanism. But he wants to impose price controls at the same time and force them to keep their fares down if demand goes up! So they will not have an incentive to increase capacity! Now, there are plenty of other reasons to bash anyone who still moans over Railtrack's lead-lined sarcophagus (sunk in the Marianas Trench, I would hope) - for one thing, I'm pretty keen on not being mashed like a rat in a blender on the way to work, and a fix-on-fail maintenance policy is not well suited to anything safety critical.

But I never thought anyone would seriously suggest that having privately-run railways with state-set pricing was a good idea. Come on Tories, you can do better.

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