Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Monday 25 April 2011

Who Won The War?

In a moment that connects icons of the capital, globalisation, and the rotten garlic crunching French, the hacks at the Mail On Sunday have made a groundbreaking discovery: there are Foreigners Running Our Buses. Not only that, these Foreigners are French, and they’re putting pictures of a French River on Our Iconic Red Buses.

This may come as a surprise to many Mail readers, who, unless they live in Greater London, won’t otherwise be fussed about such ghastly things as buses. Mail readers are aspirational folk. They are on their way to bettering themselves, or so they think, and they remember well what Margaret Thatcher said about buses.

In any case, the acquisition of some London bus routes by RATP Group is not the first foreign presence in the capital. In 2009, Abellio – that little logo at top right of the name is the symbol of Netherlands Railways (NS) – started bus operations there. Abellio already has a part share in rail franchises Northern and Merseyrail, and has been shortlisted for two more: Greater Anglia and InterCity West Coast (ICWC).

Northern: a Netherlands connection

French company Keolis, which already has a part share in the Transpennine Express rail franchise, is also on the shortlist for ICWC, with French state rail operator SNCF. Keolis has a part share in Govia, which operates rail franchises London Midland, Southern and Southeastern. Hong Kong based MTR has a part share in London Overground.

All of these operations add up to rather more than a few London bus routes, so one has to wonder why the Dacre hackery haven’t been kicking off about foreigners running our transport companies before. And that’s before I mention the war, er, sorry, Germans.

A German logo big enough for hacks to see?

German state rail operator DB runs Chiltern Railways, which operates services out of London’s Marylebone terminus, and has a part share in London Overground. It also runs the UK’s largest rail freight operation, branded as DB Schenker. And last year it acquired Arriva.

Germans getting close to the Tube ...

Arriva also runs rail franchises Arriva Trains Wales and Cross Country. It runs a whole load of London bus routes, as well as bus operations across England and Wales. And now it’s been annexed by the Germans. Where oh where is all the why oh why copy from Paul Dacre’s finest?

Chance is that anything more than a logo on a London bus is too taxing for the Dacre hackery, and in any case, it’s really about kicking the French. Keeps it simple. Cuts out thinking – no change there, then.

No comments: