Monday, 1 October 2012

ORR blows raspberry at Marsham Street

As is well known the dead statist hands of mandarins at Marsham Street are doing their level best to kill off competition on the railways.

This of course comes as no surprise, as the control-freaks of Great Minster House have zero control over Open Access Operators, preferring to see paths granted to their own nationalised Directly Operated Railways or indeed the running dog Owner Groups bidding for franchises.

So bad news for Open Access Operators and of course passengers, who regularly score companies like Grand Central or Hull Trains much more highly in satisfaction surveys then their franchised peers.

But what's this?

Despite Rutman and La Greening having issued new directions and guidance telling ORR to squish Open Access aspirations (Eye passim) the plucky ORR issued the following on the 21st September in respect of Grand Central's desire to run additional services to the North East:

69. Clearly, the introduction of the proposed services would have a number of benefits for existing passengers, would promote the use of the network and would promote competition. It would also allow Grand Central to make more efficient use of its existing rolling stock, and plan its business accordingly. However, it would run contrary to the general guidance issued by the Secretary of State and would impact on the funds available to the Secretary of State, and would be unlikely to improve railway performance.

70. Where, as in this case, our duties do not all point in the same direction we are required to balance them. In particular, where the benefits to passengers of new competing services on the one hand are offset on the other by a negative impact on the funds available to the Secretary of State, we use the NPA test in order to help us strike the appropriate balance. As indicated above, this application passes the test. We therefore have decided to approve the application.

Who would have thought such bravery and independence existed in Kemble Street? 

No doubt Price and Co have been subjected to number of meetings with the new Secretary of State, sans coffee!