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Peter Lamb: Making the railways accountable to the public

In his article this week the Leader of Crawley Borough Council talks about changes needed for the railways.

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It seems as though railways are never really out of the news. In the same week as we’re faced with radical timetable changes, the Government has decided to temporarily nationalise the East Coast Mainline. Railways have a big impact upon Crawley.

Increasing numbers of residents commute to London daily, two-thirds of Crawley’s own workforce lives outside of town and millions of passengers pass through Gatwick monthly. When railways fail the local impact is huge.

The Government’s decision to takeover the East Coast franchise was prompted by poor performance, although they say they intend to hand it back to the private sector in due course. We’ve been round this circle before: companies are brought in and fail, franchises are then taken over by the Government and recover, before being re-privatised.

The irony that many of the companies running the franchises are owned by foreign Governments appears lost on them, but the reality is UK passengers are subsidising other countries’ networks with their high ticket prices.

This has to stop. Since 2002, the physical rail network has been back in public hands and working well again, it’s time to do likewise with the rail companies. It doesn’t even have to cost anything, all we have to do is to wait for the franchises to run out and they automatically revert to public ownership.

As a council, we’ve worked hard to try to improve local rail services, helping to secure the investment for major improvements to both Three Bridges and Crawley, pushing for a solution to ongoing poor performance by GTR and standing up for customers over the gradual reductions in service standards.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day so long as the railways are accountable to these companies and not to the British public, the likelihood of things changing course is low.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. kevin hall

    21st May 2018 at 4:57 pm

    well I remember all the commuters saying that that it would be better if it was a private company like the good old days?
    so after many years they got there wish, but alas they now wish it was good old BR, you just can not please some people can you.

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Police Commissioner in Queens Sq as force adds 200 additional officers across Sussex

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne meets locals in Crawleys Queens Sq as drugs campaign is promoted with Crime Stoppers.

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Crawley police have been making themselves more visible the past few days with displays and officers out and about in the town centre.

It all comes as the town is seemingly going through an increase in violent crimes.

The current presence in Queens Sq by the police was in conjunction with Crime Stoppers who were highlighting to the public the problem with County Lines.

Put simply, this is where drug gangs are recruiting locally for their drugs business and can involve grooming youngsters into working for them. 

Speaking to CN24 the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne explained that the county is in the process of a major recruitment campaign which will see an additional 200 officers added to the current number.

The Commissioner also explained that the police are working hard at increasing their public face and that more work still needs to be done so that the public do not feel worried.

If you can help the police with any information on drug crimes in your area please call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111

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