It would be reasonable to expect that in a country like Great Britain, where locomotives were invented some two centuries ago, trains would the best in the world in our times, wouldn’t it?
Well, that would be reasonable… But what’s reasonable these days in the world we live in? There’s no secret that – although faring well compared to what happens in Romania – the British rail transport lags behind those of France, Germany and other EU countries.
And it is certainly lightyears away from the Japanese rail system, where passengers can receive a ‘delay certificate’ if a train is only five minutes late!
As of 1994, trains in the UK have been operated by private firms, nevertheless, Britons haven’t seen any of the improvements in service quality that they had been promised ever since Margaret Thatcher, in the 1980s.
By all accounts, it was a botched privatisation. Britons ended up paying 40% more for a train ticket in their own country than they would pay in the Netherlands, Sweden or France.
To this day, France’s (SNCF) and Germany’s (Deutsche Ban) rail companies are state-owned and their performance is often acclaimed. On the other hand, since 1987, Japan’s complex rail system has been in the hands of some 16 private firms – and trains run even better.
It’s not the aim of this blog post to go into ideological speculations about privatisation. If it’s carried out, it should be done properly – the Japanese way, not the British way (read about this big failure: here, here, here, here, here, here, here or here).
Why do I fear that when the Romanian state-owned rail company (CFR) is eventually privatised, the result will look more like what happened in Britain than how privatisation was done in Japan?
[For all the episodes of this series, and all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate episoadele din această serie şi toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]