20 September 2018
Commenting on the ‘root and branch’ review of the railway network launched by government today, Hannah Essex, co-Executive Director at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“After years of disruption and uncertainty, this review comes not before time. Given the role that the railways play in the daily lives of employees and businesses across many parts of the UK, the review must deliver tangible, visible improvements to the system for both businesses and commuters.
“Our business communities are clear that the private sector has played, and must continue to play, a key role in running and improving the UK’s rail network. Yet the partnership between the private and public sector on the railways needs to change to alleviate the inexcusable delays and disruption faced by commuters and businesses under the current franchise system.
“Travel delays increase business costs, jeopardise business opportunities and make firms less competitive. This review must tackle all the aspects of rail travel currently worrying businesses, including service reliability, pricing, ticket flexibility, innovation, investment, freight and value for money.
“The review should also look at what more needs to be done to increase connectivity on trains – so that commuters and businesses alike can make productive use of journey time.
“We need to develop a rail system where all parts of the network are working together and communicating better to improve confidence for users and investors. For the UK to be a thriving and modern economy, we must start with getting the basics right.”