Off the rails?

Can someone explain to me please why National Express, which apparently runs a very good bus service, cannot run the East Coast line and make money out of it? Oh yes, I hear you, the fares are so high that customers are put off. Yes, £300 for a return fare from Edinburgh to London does seem a little steep. Sorry, what did you say? Oh, Easyjet take you to Luton for £25? Right, right….. So why don’t the train companies follow their example and attract more customers, paying less, which might eventually end up being more?

Sorry, shall I say that again? Charge less. Get more customers. Money from fares actually paid plus customers equals income.

I don’t have any economics qualifications, but it seems to me that cheap no frills airlines make money out of this business model and their planes are full. They only have about an hour on domestic flights to try and get additional income out of the passengers, whereas a train company running the East Coast line would be entertaining the masses for about four or five times that, allowing ample time to squeeze the extra couple of quid for a sandwich and a coffee at least.

National Express Group Train
National Express Group Train

Food for thought? Or does Gordon really want to own a railway as well as a bank? Is this Monopoly or real life?


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