No guarantees after BR is privatised

JOHN MACGREGOR, the Secretary of State for Transport, last night refused to give assurances that privatised trains would be more punctual and frequent or that fares would be lower. But he said he did believe that more trains would run under a privatised service.

Interviewed on Channel 4's A Week in Politics programme, he said: 'I believe we will see more services, more trains running. If the franchisee is going to succeed and make a good profit, he needs to attract a lot more passengers on his railway.

'His success depends on his ability to attract passengers, so he must run the safest railway, and one that's punctual.'

When asked for a promise that fares under privatisation would be lower, he said: 'I can promise that the fares situation will be better, but I cannot guarantee a level of fares.

'Where rail has got a high monopoly, like on the London commuter lines, we will continue to control maximum fares,' he said.

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