Transform Scotland’s communications officer, Rachel McFarlane, reports on a selection of our recent campaign activities.
We were delighted to be back in the Scottish Parliament at the beginning of December for our #ThinkRailFirst event with LNER. At this event, we discussed recent research published by transport experts Steer, which found – contrary to public perception – that taking the train is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than plane or car for Edinburgh-London journeys. By discussing these findings with MSPs, we highlighted the need for improved messaging surrounding Anglo-Scottish journeys on why opting for rail is the best option.
We were pleased to be joined in our rail discussions with nine MSPs:
- Fiona Hyslop MSP (event Chair)
- Sarah Boyack MSP
- Finlay Carson MSP
- Sharon Dowey MSP
- Jackie Dunbar MSP
- Rachael Hamilton MSP
- Gordon Macdonald MSP
- John Mason MSP
- Graham Simpson MSP
During the discussion, several points were raised.
- Sarah Boyack MSP noted the importance of marketing rail effectively, attracting younger generations without cars to choose rail, and improving bike accessibility on trains;
- Finlay Carson MSP argued the need for national smartcards (as seen during COP26) to make rail a more attractive and easy option;
- Gordon Macdonald MSP suggested seat allocation would improve people’s experience by guaranteeing them a seat on board.
Think Rail First has succeeded in raising the profile of rail among MSPs and given us a platform to share our campaign priorities for rail with politicians. The feedback from MSPs will help us to target our public transport campaign messages more effectively, and is invaluable for LNER in their work to promote rail as the best way to travel.
Cross-Party Group on Sustainable Transport established
We are pleased to announce the establishment of the new Cross-Party Group on Sustainable Transport for this parliamentary session.
The purpose of this group is ‘to raise the profile of sustainable transport’, with a particular focus on cross-modal issues, in the Scottish Parliament, and to promote policies and priorities relating to sustainable transport.
Graham Simpson MSP (Conservatives) was elected as Convenor of the new Group, with each of the other parliamentary party groups having one of their MSPs elected as Deputy Convenors: John Mason MSP (SNP), Sarah Boyack MSP (Labour) and Mark Ruskell MSP (Greens).
Transform was voted in as Secretariat.
You can read more about the establishment of this Cross-Party Group here, including a list of its (initial) membership and how you can join.
Union Connectivity Review publication: Our response
Our policy advisor Chris Day prepared a commentary on the Union Connectivity Review final report.
The report summarises what’s needed for better UK transport connectivity. The areas of the report affecting Scotland are:
- Investing in the West Coast Main Line north of Crewe to properly use HS2 and its faster journey times and capacity;
- Assessing the East Coast rail and road corridor to determine appropriate investments;
- Upgrading the A75 to improve freight and passenger connectivity with Northern Ireland;
- Measures to improve domestic aviation connectivity; driving sustainable domestic aviation;
- Securing better connectivity for freight across the UK with ports;
- Maintaining high sustainability standards on UKNET.