Yousaf to defend ScotRail services

MSPs are to question Scotland’s transport minister Humza Yousaf later today over ScotRail performance issues.

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After Dutch firm Abellio took over the ScotRail franchise last year the company has suffered numerous complaints from the public about delayed, over-crowded and cancelled trains.

Yousaf however shocked many by claiming the ScotRail service is; “not poor”, supported by the latest performance data, showing that 86% of ScotRail trains were on time or less than five minutes late between 16 October and 12 November.

However, Abellio’s contract to run the ScotRail franchise requires 91.3% of trains to arrive within five minutes of schedule, with Scottish government capable of cancelling the contract if performance drops to 84.3% for three consecutive months.

Yousaf warned that failure to improve services by 2020 could result in Abellio’s contract being replaced with a public sector franchise bid.

Issues have continued throughout the past week, with ScotRail cancellations on major lines and over running repair jobs creating delays for commuters across the country, Yousaf released an emergency statement and will face questions from opposition parties later today.

Yousaf said: “I am committed to delivering the best possible rail service for passengers in Scotland.

“Over this year and next, we will deliver £16m of additional infrastructure improvements and an ambitious refurbishment programme across 90% of our existing trains, providing valuable work for plants in Kilmarnock and Glasgow. This will help towards services improvements in the short term, and our £5bn of investment in track upgrades, new carriages, seats and services will bring long term transformation.”

The parliamentary update later today will clarify whether the SNP MSPs ambitious plans are enough to satisfy Hollyrood and enough for the public.

 

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