ScotRail 'let off the hook' by SNP as performance plummets
Michael Matheson has been accused of letting ScotRail 'off the hook' after figures reveal the struggling firm has once again missed its minimum standards stipulated in its franchise agreement.
Government figures published today show that just 83.4 per cent of services were on time over the last month. Additionally, the average performance for the year stood at a mere 87.3 per cent, despite ScotRail’s minimum target for this period being 92.32 per cent.
The franchise agreement stipulates that a that breach level is 4 percentage points below target, which would normally make this target’s breach level 88.32 per cent.
However, due to a recent waiver issued by the SNP Transport Secretary Michael Matheson the firm no longer has to meet these requirements.
Scottish Labour’s Transport spokesperson Colin Smyth said the figures showed the need to scrap ScotRail's franchise, and bring the firm back into public ownership.
“The news that ScotRail have again only avoided breaching their franchise because the SNP Government have moved the goalposts is a massive embarrassment to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson." he said, adding: "Scotland’s hard pressed rail passengers are being let down by delays, cancellations and overcrowding. To add insult to injury they face yet another rise in ticket prices in a few weeks and the scrapping of the kids go free scheme."
“Labour recently forced a vote in the Scottish Parliament asking the government to scrap the ScotRail franchise - but the SNP joined forces with the Tories to vote it down."
"The latest woeful performance figures show they were wrong and no amount of slight of hand by ScotRail and Transport Scotland to massage the figures can hide that."
“This needs to act as a wakeup call to Michael Matheson who has been far too slow to take action."
In a statement, ScotRail Alliance's Managing Director Alex Hynes promised improvements to ScotRail's services, commenting: “We know it has been a challenging time for Scotland’s railway, but it is encouraging to see that our punctuality has improved in recent weeks."
“With the first phase of improvements in place, our new trains and infrastructure enhancements, we are working together to deliver the punctuality and quality of service that our customers deserve.”