You couldn’t make it up.
A Freedom of Information Request submitted by The Sun to Network Rail, Britain’s part-taxpayer-funded rail maintenance body, has revealed that in the past two years the body has spent £1.3 million – on domestic flights.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen taxpayer-funded hypocrisy of this nature – research by the TaxPayers’ Alliance some years ago exposed the Environment Agency for taking internal flights for which they got so much bad publicity that they banned staff from taking them.
But nonetheless, when it comes to Network Rail, the figures will stick in the throat for commuters who have sat through years of delays thanks to ‘over-running engineering works.’
It’s not the first time that Network Rail have been in the headlines for the wrong reasons recently. Indeed, after an absolutely disastrous Christmas and New Year period in which thousands of passengers were forced to sit through seemingly interminable delays thanks to Network Rail’s incompetence, it was revealed that bosses were in line for performance bonuses worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Pressure from the media, MPs, and indeed us forced them to backtrack. On the back of those revelations, news that Network Rail bosses would receive 75 per cent discounts on their season tickets didn’t exactly go down well either.
The vast majority of commuters have no choice but to take the train. Perhaps if Network Rail’s bosses took the train more often, rather than hopping across the country on taxpayer-funded flights, they might realise quite how much work they have to do to improve the system.