'Crazy' train-bus replacements axed
Tuesday 14 February 2012
The Government is to axe the "crazy" arrangement where some rail companies get paid twice for replacing trains with buses.
In some cases, bus companies running rail replacement services are owned by the same parent company as the train operators.
This means that some are claiming the bus service operators grant (BSOG) for running rail replacement services as well as receiving compensation from Network Rail.
Today, Transport Minister Norman Baker said bus companies will no longer be able to claim the extra BSOG subsidy for running replacement services.
Mr Baker said: "Rail replacement services are quite obviously not a local bus service and I am proposing to put a stop to the highly questionable arrangements where some train operators can get paid twice over for running buses that replace their trains.
"When rail passengers buy a ticket they want to get on a train, not a bus. It is crazy for the public purse to subsidise these so-called rail replacement buses.
"I have been pushing train operating companies to reduce their reliance on decanting all their passengers on to buses at the weekend - I hope this will act as an extra push to make them think again."
This proposal is one of the first conclusions of a major review into how bus subsidy is paid. It is estimated that this change will save the Government around £2 million a year in bus subsidy.
BSOG is intended to help bus companies operating certain local services to keep their fares down and increase the number of services they can run.
But neither emergency nor planned rail replacement services are local bus services in the true sense as the public will be unaware that rail replacement services are running unless they were intending to travel by train in the first instance.
In addition, the general public will not be able to travel on rail replacement services if all seats are given as priority to displaced rail ticket holders.
The full findings from the review of BSOG will be announced in the coming months.
Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "It's good news that one of the money-making rackets of the private train operators is to be closed down and we hope they don't just look to recover this nice little earner by exploiting other loopholes elsewhere in the fragmented and opaque rail system."
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...