Monday, December 06, 2010

Goodale On Improving Our Railways


The Harper government seems to be in league with the railways to stifle a recent review of the poor levels of service foisted by the railways on their customers (including farmers).

The shippers of virtually every commodity transported in bulk – grain, oilseeds, pulse crops, forest products, minerals, chemicals, fertilizers, industrial goods, etc. – have complained for years that the railways over-charge and under-perform. In response, the federal government has been “reviewing” rail service problems since 2007.

The railways deny every concern, but this Service Review has exploded their myths.

It found overall rail freight service to be inadequate and undisciplined, largely because too much market power is vested in the hands of the railways. In other words, the complaints of farmers and others are legitimate, and the root problem is the railways’ near-monopoly which kills competition.

The Service Review offered eight ideas for rectifying the situation, including more commercial conduct by the railways, better notice requirements, enforceable service agreements between railways and shippers, dispute resolution procedures, better reporting, etc.

But the review fell way short on the question of implementation.

The government is giving the railways THREE YEARS to make necessary improvements – out of the goodness of their hearts. And then there might be another review. And then there might be new laws and regulations.

Horsefeathers! This “benign neglect” approach won’t work.

The railways will not fix service deficiencies on their own. They never have. If problems are to be solved, they’ll have to be forced to do it.

So why wait THREE MORE YEARS? Nothing will change – except service will get worse, and the railways will keep snickering all the way to the bank, playing farmers, other shippers and the federal government for fools.

Real solutions require new legislation and regulations. So let’s get on with it – now!

-- Post From My iPhone

1 comment:

Oemissions said...

We need to restore our rail service instead of supporting the auto corporations.
It's painful to see the elevators pulled and the high priced passenger rail service.
Fixing the rails and redeveloping services is a win win situation