James Kelly MSP has once again taken to the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament to call out Scottish Ministers over continued poor Scotrail performance in the Rutherglen area.
Following the release of Scotrail’s updated public performance figures, covering the Month of May, Mr Kelly highlighted figures to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport showing that 43% of trains at Rutherglen did not arrive on time and asked him to apologise to passengers.
Mr Kelly also raised the prospect of cancelling the Scotrail-Abellio franchise altogether, a move backed by the Labour Party but which was blocked by the Government earlier this year.
James Kelly MSP said “I am having to regularly raise this issue with the Scottish Government because constituents keep on coming to me with concerns about the unreliability of rail services in the area.
“We are seeing significant numbers of trains delayed at stations throughout the wider Cambuslang and Rutherglen area and the picture is not improving. Every month, Scotrail release figures showing that the situation here remains of a standard far below what customers expect, deserve and need.
“It has become clear that the Scotrail-Abellio franchise is just not working for the people of Scotland and in particular the people of Glasgow and it’s surrounding areas. It is time for a publicly owned rail service, that puts passengers first – not profits.
“I would encourage constituents to continue to get in touch with me about their rail issues. I will continue to push for action and improvement for our commuters.”
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve the performance of ScotRail services in the Glasgow area. (S5O-03360)
Further to the answer that I provided to James Kelly in the chamber on 9 May, more than nine out of 10 trains now run on time. In the Glasgow area, the Donovan recommendation for a right-time departure at Milngavie from the December 2018 timetable has seen a public performance measure improvement across the wider Strathclyde electric network during the peak. Period 9, before the new December timetable, saw PPM at 73.3 per cent, and the latest period 2 PPM is now at 89.9 per cent, which is a marked improvement. However, there is more work to be done, and on-going delivery of the recommendations from the Donovan review and the remedial plan will support further performance improvement in the Glasgow area.
The cabinet secretary’s answer does not stack up with the experience of passengers in the Rutherglen area, where, according to the latest statistics, 43 per cent of trains are not turning up on time. It is simply not good enough that people are being let down by ScotRail services. Will the cabinet secretary apologise to passengers for the appalling level of service and agree that it is time to call time on the Abellio contract, terminate it and introduce a contract process that puts the network into public hands?
The figures that I gave James Kelly are factual information on PPM, which is recorded and standard right across the industry. The member will understand that some 60 per cent of all delays and cancellations on the network are the result of infrastructure failures, which are the responsibility of Network Rail. We believe that Network Rail should be accountable to and responsible to this Parliament rather than the United Kingdom Parliament, so that we can address those issues more effectively. Some of the key work around the Williams review is being undertaken in order to do that.
James Kelly can be assured that we will continue to do everything that we can to improve services, including on the Rutherglen line, and to make sure that Network Rail is taking forward the necessary measures for greater reliability on our network. I hope that the Labour Party will get behind us and call for the devolution of Network Rail to this Parliament while the Williams review is considering the matter, so that we can deal with the issues in this Parliament much more effectively.
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