In an effort to stave off financial disaster, Britain’s rail operators have agreed to change the advice they give to commuters from “please remember to take all your belongings with you” to “please remember to leave one or two of your valuables behind you when you get off”.
The new advice is intended to make up for a £3bn shortfall in the rail firms’ revenue after the government announced cuts to rail subsidies. “Ticket prices are now so low that we can’t really afford to pay our staff,” said a spokesman for London Midland. “So we thought that we could ask customers to leave the odd iPod, netbook or quality leather briefcase behind them instead for the train manager to pick up when he or she goes through to collect all the old copies of Metro.”
The spokesman refused to say whether the items left by passengers would be given directly to staff in lieu of wages, or sold to raise cash. “We haven’t decided,” he said. “But we certainly don’t want our drivers wasting their time playing Angry Birds on a second-hand iPhone 4 – especially not when they should be paying careful attention to their latest strike ballot.”