People are demanding to know what each political party intends to do about the railways if they are elected into government in May this year.
Many people commute from Queen's Park and the cost of commuting has been raised time and again with myself and Cllr Yasin on doorstep visits. Commuters season tickets have risen an average of 20 percent under this government, whilst wages have stalled.
Labour has already set out its ambitious plans for the railways so that they will be run for the interests of passengers not just shareholders. Fare-paying customers should be guaranteed a reliable, efficient, and affordable railway network.
The next Labour government will bring Network Rail together with a representative passenger rail organisation to plan investment and services. it will contract routes; co-ordinate services; oversee stations, fares, and ticketing; plan new rolling stock; raise skills and be accountable for customer satisfaction.
A Labour government will review the franchising process and put in place a system that is fit for purpose. The previous Labour government took the East Coast franchise into public ownership after two successive private franchises collapsed, creating Directly Operated Railways. This is working well and will return around a billion pounds to the taxpayers by March next year, yet the Tory/Lib Dem government wants to hand it back to the private sector.
Labour has stated that it will legislate to allow a public sector operator to take on new train lines and challenge the train operators on a level playing field so we can have railways we can all afford to use.
I hope you'll consider this when casting your vote in May.
Cllr Mohammed Masud