17 October 2010
Allowing fares to rise is a good thing
Patrick Crozier

If Transport Blog were still going I would be very inclined to link to this piece:

Rail fares ‘to rise by up to 40 per cent’

Good thing too, I would say.  Fare control is a form of regulation, regulation is a form of intimidation, intimidation is a form of violence and violence is wrong.  That’s the moral side.  On the practical side: violence doesn’t work.  So any removal of violence is likely to lead to a better world in the long run (though, not necessarily, sad to say, in the short run).  So, that’s sorted I’d say.

However, I would add one thing.  If the government wants to do this with the minimum amount of political damage, I would suggest freeing all fares but at the same time allowing everyone with an existing annual season ticket the right to renew that ticket at that price in perpetuity.  My guess is that the number of people so privileged would decline to next-to-nothing in next-to-no-time.

I would then go on to say that freed of all that fare control (an all that Euro-regulation, of course) train companies would be free, through the process of price discovery, to offer the sort of services passengers really want.  You know, that’s “really” as in: what they want and are prepared to pay for, not: what they want and are prepared to make other people pay for.  Which for all, I know will include things like carriages without seats or even, seats you can actually sit in.

But Transport Blog is not going, so I won’t.

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