Petition Calls For Improvements At ScotRail
9 October 2016, 10:56
Almost 14,000 people have signed a petition calling on the firm operating ScotRail to be stripped of its contract unless train services improve.
The online petition urges the Scottish Government to "get tough'' on Abellio over "poor service'' after reports of delays, cancellations and overcrowding on trains.
It is expected to be delivered to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf next week.
Dutch company Abellio was awarded the ScotRail franchise in October 2014, and began operating train services from April 2015.
It took over from Aberdeen-based FirstGroup, which ran most Scottish rail services for the previous 10 years.
The franchise, which is worth up to £6 billion, is due to run for 10 years, with a provision for the Government to cancel the contract at the halfway point if Abellio - a subsidiary of the Dutch national rail company Nederlandse Spoorwegen - fails to meet its obligations.
The petition states: "It is vital for Scotland that we have a train service that is affordable and runs on time.
"ScotRail bosses have been providing a poor service for months and the Scottish Government could be finally about to get tough on them.
"We can give transport minister, Humza Yousaf, the push he needs to take a hard line with ScotRail.''
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has urged the Government to do more to help rail commuters who she said are paying more for a "shocking'' service.
Last week she highlighted profits of £1 million a month for Abellio, while rail fares are due to rise.
Ms Dugdale said new figures also showed that a third of all routes in Scotland have services that are late more often than they are on time.
Mr Yousaf said: "We are committed to delivering a rail service that puts the interests of passengers front and centre. This includes offering value for money along with reliable and punctual services.
"ScotRail's performance this year has not been at the level the Scottish Government demands and expects, which is why I have taken decisive action in calling for the operator to deliver an improvement plan outlining how they will improve passenger services going forward.
"Transport Scotland and Scottish Ministers will be working closely with the franchisee to monitor delivery of this plan and ensure its targets are met.''