East Lothian Labour activists have been promoting the party's positive vision of a publicly owned ScotRail - on the same day East Coast rail is taken back into public hands.
Led by Iain Gray MSP and Councillor Norman Hampshire, the campaigning also follows the news that ScotRail has failed to hit its punctuality target for the whole of 2017/18. Under the SNP’s franchise deal, ScotRail is required to have a specific percentage of trains arrive on time during 13 periods across the year.
But analysis by Scottish Labour reveals the rail company has failed to meet the target, which varies, in every one of those periods. The revelation comes after ScotRail admitted it would be unlikely to hit its punctuality targets until 2020/21 at the earliest, spelling more misery for commuters.
Last week, a survey by Transport Focus revealed plummeting satisfaction with ScotRail from passengers. The party said the figures revealed the extent to which the ScotRail franchise was failing customers – and said it reinforced the case for the ScotRail franchise to be taken back into public hands.
Scottish Labour is making the case for public ownership ahead of the break in the ScotRail franchise in 2020. This break in the contract allows the Scottish Government to bring it to an early end and take the franchise back into public hands.
Iain Gray MSP said:
“It is absolutely shocking that ScotRail has failed to meet any of its punctuality targets for 2017/18, although users of the Edinburgh-North Berwick Line will not be surprised by the news.
“Hard-pressed passengers are paying up to a fifth of their wages on commuting costs, but all they get in return is delayed, over-crowded trains that cannot be guaranteed to stop at the right stations.
“More worryingly, even ScotRail bosses themselves have admitted they will not hit their punctuality targets until 2020/21 at the earliest.
“SNP Transport Minister Humza Yousaf needs to get a grip and put Scotland’s rail passengers out of their misery by ending the current franchise.
“Labour believes in public ownership of our railways - and these figures show why more and more commuters in Scotland agree that we need to remove control of our trains from those who put profit before passengers.
"There was certainly a positive response today in Dunbar for our vision of a rail service that works for the many, not the few.”