We need investment in a modern, integrated, accessible transport system – that people across Scotland can rely on and afford. ScotRail trains are failing to match the national punctuality target at nearly 60% of stations where trains terminate. While there has been an improvement in performance in recent months following an outcry from passengers, ScotRail is still falling short of its contractual target.
After my staff member’s train journey was cancelled and disrupted today, and knowing the importance of rail reliability for rural areas like my region – it is clear to me that transformative change is needed.
Here is Scottish Labour’s blueprint to improve Scotland’s railways, with a publicly-owned network as the backbone.
Here is our plan:
• Bring ScotRail and the Caledonian Sleeper into public ownership when the franchises expire – a demand first made by Scottish Labour when the First ScotRail franchise ended, which was ignored by the SNP.
• Automatic refunds to passengers for tickets purchased by card if their train is delayed.
• Fairer fares for passengers – the SNP refused Labour’s demands for a price freeze this year, but Scottish Labour will press for a fair deal in 2018.
• Free WiFi across the entire network under a UK Labour government.
• End the expansion of driver-only operations.
• Introduce legal duties to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
• Retain Network Rail in whole, rather than letting the Tories strip it of powers.
• Support the completion of the HS2 high-speed rail line to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
• Encourage public and private sector bodies to take part in ‘active travel’ schemes to persuade workers to commute by train.