Anas Sarwar criticises ‘failure’ to provide replacement bus services for mass rail disruption
The Scottish Government has come under fire for failing to ensure replacement bus services are provided while rail services are running on a heavily limited timetable.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar revealed at First Minister’s Questions that no replacement services were being offered anywhere in the country.
He said: “In the middle of a cost of living and climate crisis, this SNP/Green government are leaving people stranded, with no public transport, and asking them to use gas guzzling vehicles instead.
“What this failure means in practice is tens of thousands of people struggling to get to and from work, more people out of pocket and made poorer, millions lost for local businesses, and the industries that suffered so much from Covid taking another hit.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney – standing in for Nicola Sturgeon at the weekly session as she recovers from Covid – insisted it was important that railways were operating safely and said the disruption was due to driver training being “interrupted by Covid”.
He encouraged ScotRail and the transport trade unions, due to meet again this afternoon, to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.
He highlighted efforts by ScotRail to increase the pool of train drivers, and added the temporary timetable was only in place to provide “certainty” to commuters.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross also asked about rail services, calling for arrangements to be put in place to ensure public transport options would be available for football fans when Scotland is due to play Ukraine in Glasgow next week.
Swinney said he was “very confident” extra services would be put on for the event, adding that an announcement would be “made in due course”.
A temporary timetable was put in place on Monday which saw services reduced by a third, with many last trains being brought forward by several hours.
It is not yet known when a full service will be able to resume.