Finland’s Transport Minister still believes in fairies when she continues to plan the privatisation of passenger railway traffic.
She has used the example of the UK as a shining example of what can be achieved saying that “private operators” will lower ticket prices for passengers, improve the standards of trains services, cut subsidies from the government and thus increase passenger rail traffic.
After 30 years of privatisation in the UK the following milestones have been achieved:
- Punctuality is at a 12-year low; commuters face big increases in season tickets; and few believe in the present franchising system following the failure of Virgin Trains East Coast.
- Around 25% of all rail franchises want to renegotiate the terms of their franchises because of the largest passenger declines in 25 years.
- The government’s subsidy to the railways doubled when privatisation started and has increased by some 30% since then from €2.5 billion in 1996 to €3.5 billion today.
Most of the companies bidding for these franchises are government-owned companies from France, Germany, and China. It is such a smart move to ask other governments’ companies to compete with the Finnish government’s company!
That must be considered as the smartest move ever!
The final nail in the coffin for this policy is that the Transport Ministry is using a small number of consulting companies that receive huge amounts of paid work from the Ministry and are thus dependent on keeping in the Ministry’s good books.