Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fining oneself

Network Rail, the company that manages Britain's rail infrastructure, describes itself as follows:

As a company limited by guarantee, we are a private company operating as a commercial business. We are directly accountable to our members and regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).
Run like a PLC

The Board runs Network Rail to the standards required of a publicly listed company (PLC).

We produce an Annual Report & Accounts and hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM). We also publish our Business Plan each year – something that very few other companies do.
Some people think this is just a disguised form of nationalisation. NR is financed by the government, and its debts are underwritten by the government, or to put it another way, by me. And you, if you're a UK taxpayer. Most of Network Rail's indirect customers - railway users - are also British taxpayers.

Today's Telegraph reports:
Network Rail has been hit with a record breaking £14 million fine for the chaos it inflicted more than quarter of a million passengers over the New Year.

The penalty imposed by the rail regulator for the failure to complete three sets of engineering works is nearly double the 7.6m imposed on Network Rail's predecessor Railtrack in 1999.
So as a punishment for Network Rail inconveniencing rail users, the regulator has (indirectly) fined rail users.

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