Rail Overcrowding To Get Worse

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 87 months ago
Rail Overcrowding To Get Worse

Overcrowding on trains is set to get worse, according to a report from the Public Accounts Committee. Despite promises more than three years ago to add 1,000 carriages to trains by 2014, mostly in the south-east, it appears there will actually be 15% less space than the DfT calculates is needed just to keep overcrowding at current levels. Nice.

The problem seems to be that train operating companies (TOCs) have no incentive to add capacity - with franchises lasting less than ten years, why would they invest? - and neither do they have the power to fiddle with the timetable. Public subsidy is also being cut so no help there. The talk now is of TOCs having to become more efficient to fund improvements (anyone who commutes on the trains may want to join us in a bitter, hollow laugh at this point).

Another option put forward is flexible pricing i.e., making earlier and later trains cheaper (or making traditional commuter trains even more expensive) in the hope of shifting the burden off peak trains. But the reason a peak train is full is because, erm, we have jobs that start at 9am. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond says he'll be unveiling plans to reduce overcrowding in the next few weeks - we wait with bated breath.

Last Updated 09 November 2010