They call this privatization?

I argued in my Issue Analysis on the mistakes made during the privatization of Britain’s railroads that it was no longer accurate to call the railroads privatized. Today we get further confirmation:

“An extra 1,000 train carriages are expected to be provided for Britain’s railways by 2014 in a bid to tackle overcrowding, the BBC has learnt. Ministers will announce that carriages will be used to lengthen trains on the most congested parts of the network…

“But the Association of Train Companies said extra space would soon be used up…The government will pay for them and then lease them to the train companies at a cost of about £130 million a year, he says.”

In a truly privatized system, the train companies would decide on how many trains they needed to meet passenger demand and would charge fares sufficient to pay for them, recognizing that their competitors — automobile and bus travel — would become more attractive the higher fares went. In the pre-privatization world, British Rail managers took those decisions. Today, in a supposedly privatized environment, Ministers — elected politicians advised by civil servants with no day-to-day expertise in running an industry — are making those decisions.

As I said below, the UK is a bizarro world today.