ASLEF evidence to Scottish Parliament on rail

22 May 2012

ASLEF’s officer in Scotland, Kevin Lindsay, has told the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment (ICI) Committee that, ‘Our concern is that economic, rather than social, trains are run, whereas we believe that the railway should be for all.’ Ownership was Kevin’s central theme – he said it was ‘bizarre that the Scottish Parliament controls the budget and how the franchise should be run, yet it cannot make a decision on whether the railway should be publicly owned and publicly accountable’ – but he also spoke about punctuality, driver training for disabled passenger and general passenger comfort in his evidence to the Committee.

The Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) on the Committee have now called for ‘an urgent review’ having heard that Scots are paying a third more in fares and taxes than elsewhere in Europe for trains that are often both uncomfortable and overcrowded.

In line with Kevin’s evidence, the committee's ‘Rail 2014’ report recommends more regular upgrades and improvements of trains. It also calls for phased changes to the Public Performance Measurement system so that a train will be considered on-time only if it arrives within a minute of its timetabled target. In addition it is to consider the ‘indemnification’ clause in franchises, whereby rail companies can call on the government (or in fact, the taxpayer) for compensation in the event of industrial action – regardless of whose actions may have led to the dispute

The final report of the ICI Committee will be taken into consideration, along with the consultation responses, in preparation for the next franchise.

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