Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
John Finnie MSP, Transport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, will today (Wed 23 Nov) urge under-fire Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to improve compensation for rail passengers experiencing poor service.
Scotrail operator Abellio has been forced to produce a performance improvement plan by Transport Scotland and the Transport Minister is due to make a statement to Parliament this afternoon.
Mr Finnie says when performance is low, passengers should automatically receive a form to claim a refund rather than having to search for one. He is also urging immediate capital improvements to station facilities so that passengers have warm, comfortable rooms in which to wait for their connections.
Longer-term, the Greens want to see additional staff hired to ensure services flow smoothly, for staff to be consulted on ways to get punctuality and reliability back up to standard, and for Network Rail in Scotland to be devolved so that responsibility for rail infrastructure rests with the Scottish Government.
John Finnie, transport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said:
“Greens have long called for Scotland’s railways to be publicly-run as they are a public service. While we’ve yet to hear directly from the transport minister on this point, it is welcome that he has spoken of the need to prepare a public sector bid.
“In the short-term, passengers deserve action to improve the current dismal situation. Far too often commuters either have to stand all the way or they simply can’t board a train due to overcrowding. Abellio need to understand that poor service is unacceptable, and that offers of compensation should be automatic and easy to complete.
“Occasional delays and technical problems are understandable, and these can be made bearable by providing decent facilities for passengers. Our ageing stations are long overdue modernisation. We also need to ensure appropriate staffing levels and involve the staff themselves in any improvement plans as they know best how the service can be improved.
“Public transport has been overlooked by the Scottish Government for too long. It’s a shame it has taken till now for them to notice. Greens stand ready to offer constructive solutions to make Scotland’s railway the high quality public service it should be.”