Labour call for SNP to improve ‘shocking’ service on railways

Rail services were raised at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.
Rail services were raised at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.
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Kezia Dugdale has urged the Scottish Government to do more to help rail commuters who are paying more for a “shocking” service.

The Scottish Labour leader highlighted profits of £1 million a month from the Abellio-operated ScotRail franchise amid a rise in rail fares.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale arrives to First Minister's Questions on Thursday.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale arrives to First Minister's Questions on Thursday.

Ms Dugdale questioned whether a promise to passengers the deal would be a “world-leading contract to deliver for rail staff and passengers” had been kept.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, she said: “I doubt commuters on the morning train from Dundee to Edinburgh, or North Berwick to Edinburgh, or the nightly commute from Cumbernauld to Dalmuir, would agree that Scotland has a world-leading contract or indeed that the expectations of the public are being met.

“In the past few months Scotland’s rail passengers have faced cancellations, delays and overcrowding.

“New figures this week show that a third of all routes in Scotland have services that are late more often than they are on time and at the same time Abellio are raking it in – £1m a month of profit from that franchise.” Ms Dugdale said the rail network “might be working for the transport bosses, it’s certainly not working for Scotland’s commuters”.

She added: “Since 2011 the average weekly earnings of commuters rose by only 6 per cent but the Scottish Government’s cap on rush-hour rail fares increased by over 23 per cent. That’s a rise four times faster than earnings.

“Those who travel by train for their work every day are paying more for a shocking service and Scottish commuters are fed up of the First Minister’s excuses. This is her responsibility, what is she going to do to get things back on track?”

Ms Sturgeon said the government had received an improvement plan from ScotRail and was continuing to invest significant sums of money in the country’s rail network.