Rail competition

How would a possible 
independent government deal with the criticisms of 
First ScotRail’s performance supplying rail services? (Gordon Caseley, Letters 5 July)

Guardedly, the white paper (Scotland’s Future) suggests that “different ownership models for the rail network “ will be considered. Perhaps the preferred model would be public ownership of the railways, which is the union Aslef’s favoured option.

Would public ownership or renationalisation be either financially or politically acceptable in the present ideological climate? Also there is no compelling reason to suppose nationalised transport would supply quality services at competitive prices. More than likely the present arrangement of a tripartite partnership with government and Transport Scotland would continue.

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A radical proposal would be to free buses and trains from government and Transport Scotland and encourage a free market. Are the “eye-wateringly high prices” and “lowest common denominator” travel because of subsidies and lack of competition? Arguably the role of government should be limited to encouraging new entrants and enforcing real competition between suppliers.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk

Inverurie, Aberdeenshire