The Department for Transport (DfT) has just released data showing Network Rail has blown almost £24 million on hiring cars in the past four years. The figures reveal the car rental bill for the agency in charge of the UK’s railway lines and a significant number of its train stations has skyrocketed since 2012.
Network Rail splashed out £2.5 million during the 2012-2013 fiscal period, but in the following year the bill had almost doubled to £4.6 million. The amount doubled again in 2014-2015 to a tad over £8 million.
The amount spent on hire vehicles for the current year due to end on 31 March has levelled out a little and the DfT data showed Network Rail had only spent £8.3 million so far. The DfT released the figures in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Labour MP Lilian Greenwood.
The shadow secretary for transport later told reporters at a press briefing that the figures showed even Network Rail bosses did not take the train anymore. She continued by saying the sky-high bill for rental vehicles was additional proof the rail-track company was not taking care of commuters and travellers.
Ms Greenwood noted that the rental bill had increased by 234 per cent over the four year period. She said Network Rail needed to explain the reason why to commuters who did not have usually have the option of being able to travel to work by car.
The MP stated that she understood some journeys were necessary, but not such a huge increase. As a codicil, she commented that the cost of train tickets had shot up by a quarter since 2010 yet there had been little improvement in the quality of service or infrastructure.