Trav­ellers in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang have had to en­dure great dis­rup­tion

Rutherglen Reformer - - Margaret Ferrier - James Kelly MSP

Sit­ting ca­su­ally look­ing at my Twit­ter feed on Satur­day af­ter­noon and up crops the mes­sage from Scotrail – ‘Sig­nalling fault be­tween Cam­bus­lang and Ud­dingston. Ser­vices to these sta­tions may be de­layed’.

Now I have al­ways been a big sup­porter of our trains hav­ing used them reg­u­larly all my life.

How­ever, it has to be said that Satur­day’s twit­ter mes­sage from Scotrail an­nounc­ing an­other de­lay has been an all too com­mon oc­cur­rence in re­cent months.

Trav­ellers in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang have had to en­dure a great deal of dis­rup­tion.

In­deed the Au­gust sta­tis­tics show that 24 of 75 ser­vices were more of­ten late that on time.

This is un­ac­cept­able with tales of lo­cal peo­ple be­ing late for work or med­i­cal ap­point­ments be­ing all too reg­u­lar as the dis­rup­tion hits lo­cal sta­tions.

It is not just the late run­ning trains but the over­crowd­ing and the con­di­tions pas­sen­gers have to en­dure.

A friend told me re­cently of re­turn­ing home late on Fri­day night on a train from Hyn­d­land to Ed­in­burgh where the toi­lets were out of or­der. The guard ex­plains that once the on-board toi­lets are ‘full up’, they can­not be emp­tied un­til the next day and the toi­lets are placed out of or­der.

What a dread­ful way to treat pas­sen­gers on a long jour­ney.

All that calls into ques­tion the de­ci­sion by the SNP govern­ment in 2014 to award the Scotrail fran­chise to Dutch firm Abel­lio.

I ar­gued at the time, on be­half of Scot­tish Labour, that the award­ing of the fran­chise should be de­layed to al­low a pub­licly funded model to be used.

How­ever, the SNP charged on with the award of the con­tract.

The sheer folly of that de­ci­sion is shown by the fact Abel­lio are mak­ing £1mil­lion per month from the con­tract.

That may be sick­en­ing enough for Scot­tish rail pas­sen­gers but it is made even worse by the fact that the prof­its are be­ing poured into the pock­ets of Dutch share­hold­ers rather than the much needed Scot­tish rail net­work.

Scot­tish rail pas­sen­gers de­serve bet­ter.

When the Scotrail con­tract comes up for re­newal; it is time for a Peo­ple’s Scotrail that puts pas­sen­gers be­fore profit. The prof­its from the ser­vice should be re­tained in Scot­land and used to im­prove the ser­vice.

That way we can have a ser­vice that looks af­ter pas­sen­gers, runs the trains on time and treats the staff with re­spect.

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