Railways

Part of Department for Transport – in the House of Commons at 7:09 pm on 9th March 2009.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 7:09 pm, 9th March 2009

I absolutely share the hon. Lady's desire to see rail fares controlled; they are far too high, and are in danger of getting higher. There may be a different double whammy from the one that she mentions. There could be the double whammy of reduced income for the train operating companies, and a reduced number of passengers, if the recession kicks in. However, there would be the same overheads, over which they have little flexibility, although there may be a bit of flexibility at the edge, with regard to booking offices and so on. Under those circumstances, and given the architecture that is in place, is not the real danger that those circumstances make the defaulting of the franchise more likely?

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