Shoppers in Yeadon High Street last Saturday were invited by the local Labour campaign team to take part in an informal ‘people’s vote’ at their pop-up stall.
The poll question was “Would you like to see the railways brought back into public ownership” and shoppers were invited to vote by putting a ball into a box marked ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Nine out ten shoppers of the 70 odd who stopped to take part voted in favour of renationalising the railways.
No seats in rush hour
Elliot Nathan, who is Yeadon’s Labour candidate for the forthcoming city council elections in May, had some lively conversations with local residents and visitors. “Our light-hearted poll was a way to gather the views of Yeadon shoppers, and many people are concerned about the general state of public transport – buses as well as trains. They tell me bus links from Yeadon to Guiseley station and to Leeds and Bradford are far from satisfactory, and bus and train fares keep increasing. By the time trains reach Guiseley during morning rush hour, there are no seats left, so anyone with mobility problems who really needs to sit down has to get a much earlier train than necessary, to be sure of getting a seat.”
Bring trains back into well-run public ownership
Nationally, Labour has committed when it gets into government to cap rail fares and bring back the railways into public ownership. “Three private companies, Great North Eastern, National Express and last year Virgin, have walked away from the Leeds to London train line because they over-bid for the franchise and couldn’t make a profit” explained Mr Nathan. “Yet when the publicly-owned LNER took over the line after 2009 following the National Express failure, punctuality, customer satisfaction and profits all increased. That shows well-run publicly-owned train lines can provide a far better service for passengers and, instead of going to shareholders, profits can be re-invested in improving the railways.”