Film and TV Editor
ScotRail has cancelled an average of 47 trains per day, according to figures by Scottish Labour.
Since Abellio took over the ScotRail business in April 2015, a total of 74,514 trains have been cancelled; that is 327 trains per week. This news comes just after ScotRail has announced a 13% hike in ticket prices set for January.
Since Scottish Rail services were offered to private investors back in John Major’s government, it has been in a continual flux of ownership. National Express and First have each had turns running the brand, and Dutch-government owned Abellio has become the most recent company to take the reins.
Scottish Labour has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament to take ScotRail back into public ownership. The party stated that the franchise offers “miserable service” and will now try to push through a vote towards ending the Abellio ownership.
Numerous official warnings were given to ScotRail earlier this year due to suspicions of similar issues. Scottish ministers gave two warnings to ScotRail in February in response to a heavily declining standard of service. In 2018, the company was fined £3m in penalties for delays, skipping stops and cancelling services.
Overall satisfaction with ScotRail dropped to a 16-year low, according to a survey by passenger watchdog group Transport Focus. Another passenger survey by company Which? listed ScotRail as the seventh worst rail company in the UK out of 30 companies.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the critical issue is that the company is run as a purely profit-producing entity that has no concern for passenger satisfaction. The Scottish Government even went as far to create last-resort plans to run the railways as if ScotRail’s lacklustre performance failed to improve.
Despite being one of the financial centres of Europe, the UK pays some of the highest fares in Europe whilst not even being able to enjoy the luxury of the high-speed lines that are commonplace in France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
Until a vote is tabled, or the public are offered an alternative to the company, the protests against ScotRail services will become more pronounced and commuters and travellers can only expect more of the same.