Public transport services in Scotland ‘shocking’ says Labour
Private companies which run train and bus services criticised by Scottish Labour at First minister's Questions
Kezia Dugdale - Scottish Parliament
Public transport services in Scotland are not working for passengers, Scottish Labour has claimed.
Leader Kezia Dugdale and transport spokesperson Neil Bibby used First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament to criticise the private companies which run train and bus services in Scotland.
Trains are often late and overcrowded while a fifth of Scotland’s bus routes have been axed over the last decade, they said.
Research by Labour revealed a third of all train routes have services that are late more often than they are on time, while fare rises have outstripped any rise in earnings.
“Those who travel by train to their work every day are paying more for a shocking service,” said Dugdale.
The data showed the Scottish Government’s cap on rush hour rail fares increased by over 23 per cent between 2011 and 2015, while average weekly earnings rose by just 6.8 per cent.
“In the last few months Scotland’s rail passengers have faced cancellations delays and overcrowding,” said Dugdale, while Dutch operator Abellio is “raking it in, by one million pounds a month.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government had agreed an improvement plan with Abellio.
“We are absolutely committed to working with ScotRail to deliver a quality service to passengers. That is our responsibility, and we are serious in ensuring that we discharge that responsibility.”
Bibby said bus companies like First Glasgow had been allowed to withdraw services from communities without formal consultation.
“How many more bus services need to be withdrawn before this government backs any form of regulation?” he asked.
Sturgeon said bus companies should consult before changing local services.
“These are important issues—people in our constituencies depend on bus services and I expect their views to be taken into account when decisions are taken.”
Labour policy is to nationalise Scotrail and regulate the bus network.
Figures showed the proportion of journeys made on foot fell from 21.3 per cent in 2017 to 19.8 per cent in 2018, while bus use dropped from making up 8.2 per cent of journeys to 8 per cent
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