We have today published out response to the ScotRail consultation ‘Fit for the Future’ consultation. In our response, we set out five key recommendations for the Scottish Government:
- Pause rail service cuts for 12 months.
- Commission a thorough, independent review of rail industry costs — within the next six months.
- Instruct Transport Scotland & ScotRail to urgently put in place a rail patronage recovery campaign.
- Provide the policy framework & infrastructure investment that will allow the future ScotRail to succeed.
- Instruct ScotRail to make information on rail service provision available on an ongoing basis, and consult regularly regarding the need for revisions.
Transform Scotland rail spokesperson Paul Tetlaw said:
“We are not persuaded that the Scottish Ministers’ immediate focus should be on failing to restore levels of rail service provision when it should instead be delivering an environmentally-sustainable recovery from Covid.
“The proposed service cuts are being pushed through at a time when ScotRail’s patronage has been decimated by Scottish Government messaging that people should avoid using public transport. While this messaging was entirely appropriate in the early months of the pandemic when comparatively little was known about transmission of the virus, this messaging was carried out for too long and too aggressively and it appears to have directly led to longer-run reductions in rail passenger demand.
“The rail patronage recovery campaigns led by the likes of Avanti West Coast and LNER have been instrumental in helping to restore patronage levels. It is long overdue for ScotRail to do likewise, but this will require instruction from the Scottish Ministers for this to occur. Therefore a concerted effort is required to rebuild and grow rail patronage and this will require a focussed and aggressive marketing campaign delivered immediately.“