Friday, November 05, 2010

Giving up infrastructure is rarely a good deal for users and tax payers

Read this am: BBC News - High-speed rail link London to Folkestone is sold

Since it cost GBP 5bn and was sold for 2.1b, I'm failing to see where's the "great news for tax payers and rail users". For the latter, the failure of British Rail privatisation and of the tube PPP maintenance contracts clearly shows that selling out transportation infrastructure is a dodgy bet for the least.
When it works, it usually means giving private companies a nice little monopoly and a steady cash flow -take the French privatisation of motorways for instance, where more is going to share holders and less to building of new roads (which was incidentally the excuse in the first place for instoring tolls on those autoroutes).
But usually it doesn't work, and either companies end up bust with taxpayer having to mop up the collateral damage. Think the great

Plus relinquishing a tool to boost a nation's economy and litterally shape a nation fabric is neither a good news for users. Prove me wrong...

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Waterloo: more Boris Bikes but still no sign of life for the Eurostar old platforms

1009_waterloo.jpgTwo good posts this week on Londonist.
  • The first one is on the continuing mystery of the old Eurostar platforms and why they cost £4.1 to keep in mothball state -quite a good example for a pathetic failure on behalf of people in charge of the nation's rail infrastructure. It's especially enraging when you're waiting on the approach to the station in a commuter train for a platform...  I've blogged before about this, see links below.
  • And it looks like TfL has heard about my winging on Boris Bike stations being located far away from stations: Huge New Cycle Hire Station For Waterloo.  Shame common sense did not prevail in the first place, I still wonder why they looked at Montreal rather than Paris for municipal cycle hire best practices...

See my previous posts on those subjects:

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