Fife MSP Alex Rowley has questioned the Scottish Government on what they are doing to address the poor rail services within Fife on the Fife circle route highlighting the practice of trains skipping stations to make up time and the lack of adequate carriages in peak times as unacceptable.
Speaking in Parliament Mr Rowley told Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP; “People have been patient, but they have waited long enough. We need action”. Mr Yousaf responded saying he completely understood the frustration customers can experience as a result of poor service and added; “ScotRail has faced a number of challenges in recent months, which I fully expect to be addressed immediately”.
The Transport Minister was however dismissive of what he called Mr Rowley’s “ideological position” in calling for ScotRail to be taking into public ownership. ScotRail is currently operated by Abellio which is an international subsidiary of the state-owned Dutch Railways.
Speaking afterwards the Fife MSP said; “The rail services we are getting in Fife are overpriced and underperforming and it is simply not good enough. My approach to taking these services into public ownership is not driven by ideology it is driven by the need to stop the profits going abroad to a Dutch State owned company and instead invest those profits back into the rail services we are all paying for.
Mr Rowley’s call for public ownership of the railways is backed by the RMT union. Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: “RMT is campaigning to make Scotland’s trains safer, more secure and accessible. This can only be done with a publicly owned service where profit isn’t the main motive of the operator. The million pounds a month that is being stripped out by Abellio, and shipped across the North Sea to Holland, would go a long way to addressing the staffing, safety and performance issues that are dragging ScotRail down”.
The Transport Secretary has agreed to facilitate a meeting between Mr Rowley and the managing director of ScotRail.