Transport Minister Calls for Railways to Come Back to Public Sector

By Martin Cunningham

 

TRANSPORT MINISTER Humza Yousaf will speak to the Scottish Parliament tomorrow after he called for unions and political parties to work together to bring the railways back into the public sector.

 

The call comes after Scotrail’s punctuality and reliability fell below standard and a derailed train in Edinburgh caused massive disruptions last week.

 

Some services have been well below the 90 percent punctuality and reliability target, which has caused concern for Transport Scotland and Holyrood.

 

According to Scotrail’s own figures only 72.2 percent of trains to Ayr and 12.6 percent of trains to Ardrossan Harbour managed to reach their destination on schedule over the past 12 months.

 

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland Mr Yousaf said that he wished to work with trade unions and other political parties to put together a public sector bid to run the railways.

 

A bid like this could come into affect by 2020 when a clause in the current contract with Abellio would allow it to be broken.

 

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) who in a letter to the transport minister called it a “pivotal moment for our railways in Scotland” have backed the proposal.

 

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said: “RMT said at the time that Abellio was awarded the Scotrail franchise that it was a gross betrayal of the Scottish people and was doomed to failure. We have been proved right but now is the time for decisive action to repair the damage and look to a future under public ownership and public control.”

 

However Mr.Yousaf did say that Scotrail has put together a performance improvement plan to help tackle current disruption to services.

 

He said: “What I’ll be saying is highlighting some of the 246 individual actions that are in the improvement plan. Services and performance have not been to the acceptable standard that I expect.

 

“The Scottish Government and my job is to make sure that passengers are put first and get the best possible service so I’ll be outlining some of those actions that have happened, that are happening and that are going to happen to improve performance on our railways.”

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