THE TORIES have allowed train companies to ‘play the system’ collecting more than £1.3bn from the taxpayer for delayed services and passing only a fraction on to commuters, prompting train union RMT to call for the entire system to be taken back under public ownership.
Compensation claims handed by rail operators to government-owned Network Rail have spiralled from £15m in 2012 to £328m last year.
Just 20p in every pound is then passed onto passengers.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Fare fiddling is rife on Britain’s railways and the biggest exponents are the private rail companies who have trousered over a billion pounds of public money as part of this extortion racket.
‘It is a national disgrace and once again Chris Grayling (Tory Transport Secretary) is right at the centre of it, handing out taxpayer money to failing train operators in a grotesque display of corporate welfare.
‘It is a scandal that publicly-owned Network Rail is being bled dry in this cynical fashion while our railways are being starved of desperately-needed investment in upgrades and maintenance.
‘Meanwhile, the train companies are laughing all the way to the bank with the bulk of this cash shipped abroad to subsidise domestic operations across the Continent and beyond.
‘This latest revelation of the scale of the Great British Rail Rip-Off will fuel RMT’s campaign for public ownership and an end to this government-sponsored racketeering.’