Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Transport made a statement today in the House of Commons detailing (actually hard details are there none, but I digress) how the Coalition intend improving our rail network, with the publication of their document: "Reforming our railways - Putting the customer first".
It has first to be pointed out that under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) Article 4 lists those matters in which the EU shares competence with Member States - item (g) Transport. Also note that transport encompasses all forms of transport, be that air, water, rail or road. Nowhere in the Foreward or Executive Summary is the elephant in the room (EU) mentioned, in other words it didn't even get to open its trunk.
Greening spoke about smart ticketing as if this was a Coalition policy, yet this was discussed by Lord Andrew Adonis in 2009 when he announced plans to boost development and take-up of smart ticketing across the UK. In a speech to the Transport Times conference Adonis highlighted integrated transport systems as one of the key challenges faced by his department. The Department for Transport (DfT) published a consultation document to look at possible incentives that could improve adoption of smart ticketing. Indeed, the Trans European Network - Transport (TEN-T) has already had studies carried out on the benefits of smart ticketing and one of the reports can be read here, included in which is the suggestion that: "steps that could be taken at an EU level to enhance / accelerate the development, deployment and integration between smart ticketing schemes".
You will note that Greening uses the phrase "average regulated fares" and if you google that phrase the first item is the one you need to click on (Parliament UK Briefing Paper SN01904) which will open a pdf in Adobe Reader.
Greening also spent time discussing how it is the Coalition's intention to provide cheaper fares and here again she has omitted the elephant in the room. Floating round TEN-T is the idea that subsidies for transport should be phased out and all transport services provided on the basis of "user pays" and I posted on this subject back in November 2011, linking to two stories in the Mail. Neither did Greening mention this little meeting that her predecessor, Philip Hammond, attended in which it is stated that: "........In addition, the introduction of self-financing mechanisms (i.e. user-pays and polluter-pays principles) has to be considered in order to generate additional financial resources. Ministers agreed that new financing solutions must be found......".
* The law of averages would have one believe that another train crash such as this is just around the corner - and this woman was elevated to Secretary of State.........?
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