Well, it’s at least five years away but Corbyn and Burnham, Labour front runners to be the party next leader both have re-nationalisation in their manifestos. There is some logic in what they are saying and it certainly could have appeal to people living on heavily competited bus routes, rural communities or using commuter trains into large cities.
One big positive or negative re-nationalisation from the ticketing point of view is it will increase the focus on a national standard or a fully integrated system for ticketing. It could be ITSO will become the mandated national standard or more hopefully we’ll start to move to something more in keeping with modern technology. You have to question if ITSO would still be here in bus if it had not been for the government support directly in Scotland and Wales and BSOG incentives in England and in rail without the franchise requirements.
As per my previous blog the more parties involved in the solution the harder it gets. If transport were to be renationalised you would not need a common standard in the same way as ITSO you could choose to mandate a system or set of systems. Of course it would have to be governed by a national body, if each of the countries or areas did there own thing you’d be slightly better off, but you would not have solved the national multi-modal problem.
Of course you do not need to re-nationalise to acheive this, a contracted services model similar to London buses would acheive the same result, but that also seems unlikely in the near future.
We do need to do something and maybe the Northern Powerhouse will be the catalyst to make it happen. Ticketing is only a small part of the transport infrastructure but it’s the first barrier to travel. The cheaper and easier we can make it, the better the experience and the more people we might attract. If we understand our travellers better it may even create more personalised solutions and maybe even push more travel outside the rush hour.
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