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TSSA says a global pandemic is not the time to refranchise ScotRail

22 February 2021

TSSA today (Monday) is pressing the Scottish Government to explain why they are not taking rail into public hands as a means of keeping the railway running. The union's intervention comes as the Scottish Government is running a consultation exercise on the future of the failing Abellio ScotRail franchise.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary said, “Now – in the middle of a global pandemic - is not the time to be running an expensive and wasteful rail franchise exercise. So why are the SNP government even considering it?

“Passenger numbers on ScotRail are a fraction of their normal level. No private operator is going to be able to turn a profit from ticket sales alone so the only incentive to private operators would be the subsidy from the public purse. Why do that when the mechanism exists now to run the railways in the public sector for the public good?

“We’ve seen in Wales that the Labour government had the courage of its convictions and took Arriva Trains Wales into public ownership. We’ve made it clear in our submission to the consultation that the SNP government should follow their lead.” 

Ends

TSSA’s submission to the consultation is here 

  2021 Reponse to Consultation on ScotRail future

Key Lines from the submission:

A Public Service Operator would provide better value for money for taxpayers and passengers, by removing administrative and legal costs to the Scottish Government of the procurement process, and through savings from franchise payments, concessionary or management fees to private operators.

Given the current volatility and uncertainty in the UK rail industry ... it is clearly not the appropriate time for the Scottish Government to consider entering long term arrangements with commercial organisations for the provision of passenger rail services in Scotland.

Appointing a Public Service Operator until the end of the current Franchise Agreement would allow time for the Scottish Government to ascertain possible legislative changes and to engage fully with industry stakeholders, including Network Rail, on the future shape and structure of rail franchising before entering long-term contracts for the provision of rail services in Scotland.

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