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The Prime Minister and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have unveiled their ambitious plan to create a new public sector body to oversee UK railways. Mr Shapps said on Thursday that the new body would simplify an “overly complicated” system.
This decision was described in the French daily Le Monde as a “profound reorganization of the rail system”.
They wrote: “Little by little, without really saying it, Boris Johnson unraveled the Thatcher revolution point by point.
“After a sharp increase in state spending, demanded by the Covid-19 pandemic, the British Prime Minister is implementing a profound reorganization of the rail system, largely undermining the privatization launched in 1994.
“On Thursday 20 May the UK government announced the creation of a public company which will now oversee train operations in the UK.”
Frexit activists jumped at the chance to congratulate the UK on its political success, saying Brexit was at the heart of it.
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Mr Shapps said on Thursday the new body would simplify an ‘overly complicated’ system
Sharing the Le Monde article on Twitter, Generation Frexit Deputy Secretary General Hugo Sonnier scoffed at Brexit skeptics who said the UK would face catastrophic fate ahead of the Brexit referendum.
He joked: “The country’s news has fallen into the Brexit abyss.
“Let’s take control! Frexit!”
Great British Railways (GBR) will own and manage the rail infrastructure, issue contracts with private companies to run trains, set most fares and timetables, and sell tickets.
It will absorb Network Rail in a bid to end what the Department of Transport (DfT) has called a “blame game system” between rail and rail operations in the event of disruption.
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Mr Shapps said that during the 2018 calendar fiasco there was no “big controller” in charge of the system, referring to the stories of Thomas The Tank Engine.
He told Sky News: “It’s too complicated.
“But I don’t want to go back to the days of British Rail either.
“We have had a decrease in the number of passengers and the train stations closed.
“It will always be with the participation of the private sector, which will manage the concessions, run the trains themselves, but they will be paid to run those trains on time, keep them tidy and clean, and it will be one organization. who will sell you the tickets. and run the schedule. “
The cabinet minister, who describes himself as a commuter who wants “a railway that works”, added: “This is a simplification that I think people will widely welcome.”
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The Williams-Shapps plan for rail was published as a white paper.
It is based on the recommendations of an industry review carried out by former British Airways CEO Keith Williams following the chaotic introduction of new schedules in May 2018.
The plan was originally due to be released in fall 2019 but was delayed by the general election and the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I am a big fan of rail, but for too long passengers have not had the level of service they deserve.
“By creating Great British Railways and investing in the future of the network, this government will provide a rail system the country can be proud of.”
The GBR is not expected to be created until 2023.
Its logo will be an updated version of British Rail’s double boom.
It will be published at a later date.
Many reforms will be made before the launch of the organization.
Flexible subscriptions will be introduced, offering savings on some routes for people who travel to work two or three times a week.
These will go on sale June 21 for use seven days later.
There will also be a “significant roll-out” of more paid, contactless and digital ticketing on smartphones, the Department of Transport (DfT) said.
Rail franchises effectively ended when the government took over financial liabilities from operators in March 2020 to keep services running amid the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, at a cost of £ 12 billion. sterling.
Emergency agreements will be replaced by passenger service contracts, with GBR engaging private companies to operate the trains.
This concession model is similar to that used for the London Overground and Docklands Light Railway services by Transport for London.
The new organization will specify most of the timetables and prices.
Operators will be encouraged to offer high quality services and increase the number of passengers.
Mr Williams commented: “Our plan is built around the passenger, with new contracts that prioritize great performance and better service, better fares, and creating clear leadership and real accountability when things are going badly. “