Taxpayer to bail out Southern trains
Southern, the people who ferry dead-eyed commuters from London to the South Coast, are in trouble. And that means you are going to have to help them out (whether you like it or not). They've not made as much money as owners Go-Ahead (isn't that an awful faux-health bar?) hoped when it bid for the lucrative rail contract.
Under the terms of the deal, Go-Ahead is allowed to claim revenue support from the Government if this fallow period continues. This, of course, will not be welcome news for the new Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, who also has a potential judicial review hanging over him over the West Coast rail debacle where FirstGroup have been accused of winning the franchise based on "unrealistic" growth forecasts.
David Brown, chief executive of Go-Ahead, says: "It’s quite a tough job that they [the Southern team] have got to do but they are focused on trying to grow the top line still and get back onto that trajectory."
Bob Crow, leader of the RMT rail union, is shooting straight from the hip, saying the taxpayer support is like "corporate scrounging", adding: "This is yet another example of the one-way ticket to the bank for the private rail operators. If they can’t extract a fat profit they can fall back on the corporate welfare of revenue support."