Reply to post: Re: Bring it on@ Voland's Right Hand

Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bring it on@ Voland's Right Hand

"So while a great idea in principle, you will have to re-regulate the railways first (as in most places where they have working rail on the continent)"

Our railways are already regulated, so I presume you mean adding more regulation.

But that won't work. I work in a different industry that is currently very heavily regulated, and despite (or more likely because of that) we as an industry are under investigation by the competition authorities and the regulator who believe that the market is "not working". I can assure you that you cannot "regulate" a desired outcome through adding more and more rules, each of which has unintended consequences that require more rules to deal with.

By definition, the commercial rail operators in the UK do what they do to maximise their profits. If they are now doing things that you don't want, or not doing things that you want, then you want regulation to force them to take a course of action that will reduce their returns, and thus their willingness and ability to invest. This principle is why we are increasingly at risk of blackouts, as regulation and intervention to "improve" the energy sector has simultaneously reduced returns, raised costs to consumers, and made investment highly risky and unpredictable. The only answer to "improve" UK railways then is tax-funded subsidy, significant fare increases, or renationalisation. I remember the waste and incompetence of British Railways, I'm in no hurry to go back there, but even if that were an outcome it can only hide but not alter the fact that non-profit oriented spending diverts investment from better investment opportunities. In a state still spending around £100 billion a year more than it raises in tax, and with a £1.3 trillion pile of public debt, where will you get the money from to fritter on "improving" our railways in ways that rail users currently aren't prepared to pay for themselves? Taking the money from HS2 isn't the answer, because that's simply substituting one form of mis-allocated capital for another.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022