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