Daniel Mahoney writes for CityAM, Monday 9 January 2017, on the need for more choice and competition in the UK's rail network.
"Since the privatisation of the railways, successive governments have been resistant to open access competition on passenger routes. Open access operators (OAOs) are train companies that secure track access agreements for individual routes and are not subject to franchising agreements.
The Department for Transport is often concerned that OAOs will pose a risk to the revenue streams of franchisees, which would in turn reduce the payments to the government for funding the network. This goes some way towards explaining why the Office for Road and Rail only approved four out of 19 open access proposals from 2000 to 2014.
However, the government’s resistance to open access on the UK’s railways is ill judged. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently called for there to be a significantly greater role for open access on intercity long distance routes, and for good reason. Passengers are seeing a huge benefit on the East Coast Mainline where OAOs operate and compete."
"The government should publicly support the principle of open access competition, which could benefit passengers with more choice and lower fares."
Read the full article on CityAM's website.