Abellio seeks to boost passenger numbers up to 100m

An artist's impression of one of the 70 new trains being built for the ScotRail fleet by Abellio. Picture: PA
An artist's impression of one of the 70 new trains being built for the ScotRail fleet by Abellio. Picture: PA
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DUTCH firm Abellio takes over ScotRail today with the pledge to boost passengers to 100 million a year by 2018.

The operator said two fleets of new trains would help it hit the target, up some 90m in the year which ended yesterday.

It would mean annual growth accelerating from some 3 per cent a year over the last decade, although the total is expected to have gone up by 6 per cent in 2014-15 because of major events like the Commonwealth Games.

Abellio is spending £370 million on new, longer electric trains to run on the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow from the end of 2017.

The £60m refurbishment of 30 to 40-year-old diesel “High Speed Trains” will provide more seats a year later on lines between the cities and Aberdeen and Inverness.

The firm also hopes to attract more passengers with cut-price fares, such as £5 off-peak inter-city singles, and offers for the over-50s.

Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth said staff would be issued with new smartphones so information about disruption could be passed to passengers quicker.

Customers should currently be informed of delays after three minutes.

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