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TSSA challenges the SNP to stand up for Scottish passengers

19 August 2018

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes condemns rising fares and falling services on Scottish railways and demands Michael Matheson comes clean about plans for ScotRail’s future.

Figures published by Network Rail show ScotRail’s punctuality has dropped by more than 8 percent in the year from July 2017 to July 2018. Yet with RPI at 3.2% Scottish commuters are set to pay hundreds of pounds more for their season tickets.

TSSA leader, Manuel Cortes said “For the amount Scottish passengers, particularly commuters, are shelling out, the very least they could expect is a punctual service. But instead they’re seeing rip-off fare increases and bargain basement services.”

A report the TSSA published jointly with Common Weal last year showed that ScotRail would run more effectively, and more cheaply were it in public ownership. According to the report passengers could see ticket prices drop by 6.5% because of reinvestment of operating profits, with further savings achievable by ending the franchise system and direct purchase of rolling stock.

The Transport Minister at the time, Humza Yousaf, instructed his civil servants to develop a model for a public sector bidder for the ScotRail franchise, and advised the railway unions that he would make an announcement in January 2018. However, 8 months later there has been no announcement, and new Transport Minister Matheson has been noticeably quiet since he took office.

Manuel Cortes said, “Under Humza Yousaf it was all “jam tomorrow”, with hints of a public sector bidder for the next franchise contest. We’re not even getting that from Matheson!

“Our union's position will always be that we must do the right thing for Scottish passengers and taxpayers. That's why ScotRail should be owned by the Scottish people and run in the interests of passengers not greedy shareholders. The franchising process wastes millions of pounds of public money every time there is a contest. And as we’ve seen with Abellio, it doesn’t guarantee a quality service.

“But at least Yousaf was willing to have his civil servants work on a public sector bidder. It looks like the Scottish Government are now trying to roll back on that and hoping we’ll forget about it. That’s not going to happen. This was an SNP manifesto commitment and we intend to make sure they keep their promise to voters.
"The insanity of franchising is summed up by the fact that the Dutch national railway runs ScotRail. They make a profit here which they can use to investment in better rail services in Holland whilst Scotland is about to get 40 year-old museum piece trains for its new fleet. So much for the SNP standing up for Scotland. Scottish taxpayers, and commuters deserve far better.”

Ends -
NOTES TO EDITORS shows ScotRail’s PPM has dropped from 93.7% in Period 4 2017 to 85.5% in Period 4 2018.
PPM – Performance Punctuality Measure – measures trains arriving at their terminating station within 5 minutes for commuter services and 10 minutes for long distance services.
Figures released by Scottish Labour this week predict that an annual Glasgow to Edinburgh season ticket will increase by £126 to £4,082, whilst Lockerbie – Edinburgh will rise by £162 to £5,250.
The Common Weal/ScotRail report can be found at


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