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Is the UK transport network falling apart?

Amid news that National Express is currently in talks with the Department of Transport about scrapping its East Coast rail franchise there are concerns that the UK transport network is falling apart. National Express is not the only public transport operator to express fears over the last few months as contracts become untenable with profitability falling through the floor. So what is the alternative?

If the East Coast franchise is cancelled it is unlikely that any investor would step forward at this moment in time to take up the slack. This would then pose the very controversial and interesting question of whether the UK transport network would be taken back under government control. This is something which unions around the country have been demanding for some time and with the Labour government under pressure and in need of union support, there are concerns that a trade-off could come into play.

Despite the various successes, at least prior to the credit crunch, across the UK public transport sector many people believe that significant money is being wasted after taking away central control. A number of taxpayers will be unaware that the vast majority of these public sector franchises still receive significant taxpayer subsidies many years after they were initially put up for sale. Something needs to be done and quickly.

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