This is bare-faced cheek

PUBLISHED: 12:40 05 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:28 28 May 2010

If you are one of the snobs who never travel by bus or train, you may not know that what is laughably called Fenland s public transport system is falling to pieces. Two of our train companies are terminally ill. For one, Central Trains is in its death t

If you are one of the snobs who never travel by bus or train, you may not know that what is laughably called 'Fenland's public transport system' is falling to pieces. Two of our train companies are terminally ill.

For one, Central Trains is in its death throes. It provides the useful service through March to Ely, Cambridge and Stansted. In the other direction it goes to Peterborough, Leicester and Birmingham.

Even more usefully, its trains could stop at Manea and Whittlesey. The problem is, if they did, people might use them - and they're already over-crowded. So Central has just raised fares massively to frighten passengers away. With bare-faced cheek, they've justified this by saying: "We're committed to investing in our trains."

Central doesn't own any trains. It rents them.

It has also so upset its staff we had strikes on Christmas Eve and over New Year. No wonder the Government has whipped away its franchise, as of next year.

Meanwhile, GNER (which runs the mainline services through Peterborough) is on a life-support machine. Eighteen months ago, greedy GNER was so keen to run the East Coast main line, it bid £130million each year for the privilege.

Despite raising parking charges at Peterborough to £10 a visit and fining passengers who miss their train or take more than two pieces of luggage, it's just gone bust.

Then there's the Whittlesey bus war. Stagecoach has muscled in on the route to Peterborough. The good news is that more than 70 buses a day now leave Whittlesey for the city, some of them with passengers on board. And once again there is an evening service.

The bad news is that Stagecoach is hurting its rivals, Cavalier (also known as Huntingdon and District) and Emblings (also known as Judds).

These local, independent companies already operate this service and are prepared to run the less profitable services out to the villages.

Stagecoach prefers profits. Early last month its shareholders were told they'll share a £400million 'windfall' - with £100million going to its founder, Brian Souter and his sister Anne Gloag.

In the south-west, where Stagecoach runs the trains, it is solving over-crowding by removing the seats. Now it's bidding for GNER's licence.

Fenlanders should think before adding to its profits.

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