And the doom-mongers tend to forget that most of our johnny-foreigner chums across the channel pay higher taxes (direct and indirect) to support these cheap fares. At one stage (fbb does not have recent figures) fares on the Paris Metro covered only 25% of the costs; the rest came from various taxes and levies.
Comments added to the Guardian's on-line article were mainly equally vituperative; blaming "fat cat bosses", the rail unions, the government, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Colonel Gadafi etc. etc. Here is a sample:-
But our trains are 10 times slower, so it all evens out in the end.
If car users had to pay for the cost of the road system in the same way that rail users did, cars would cost more than houses.
How true : car travel is, and always will be, much more heavily subsidised than rail. Perhaps not as expensive as a house, but ...
I'm fed up with post-privatised industries using customers money to deliver "improvements to services". When the improvements are not delivered, the customers don't get their money back and the "regulators" are supine. They bark very loudly but do not seem to have the teeth to do anything.
There is a bit of truth here; not much, but a bit.
Now if a government were to introduce a stable National Transport Policy with structures that were difficult to change, at least for 25 years or so, some of these impossibly fraught questions might be resolved. Would a party offering something imaginative, stable and affordable win enough votes to carry the policy through?