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Rail Service Reliability (Tweedbank)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Michelle Ballantyne Michelle Ballantyne Conservative

3. To ask the Scottish Government what assurances it can give rail commuters in Tweedbank regarding service reliability this winter, in light of more than 50 per cent of trains not arriving on time in the last month. (S5O-02582)

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

Officials at Transport Scotland monitor and challenge rail performance through regular meetings, which have recently included winter preparedness. Significant preparatory work has already commenced, with further actions continuing to manage the challenges of the upcoming winter conditions. That includes work on infrastructure, train fleet, stations and depots, as well as staff briefings to ensure that the ScotRail Alliance delivers a robust and resilient service to customers.

Performance on Scotland’s railways is measured by the public performance measure—the PPM—which is the standard measure for train service performance throughout Great Britain. The PPM at Tweedbank in the most recent period, which was up to 10 November, was 86.4 per cent.

Photo of Michelle Ballantyne Michelle Ballantyne Conservative

In September, you reduced ScotRail’s public performance measure target to 87.18 per cent and, in October, you granted a ministerial waiver to Abellio. Given that the Scottish Government will not enforce compliance breaches until June next year, what accountability is there through which my constituents in Tweedbank can ensure that ScotRail’s PPM does not fall by another percentage point?

The Presiding Officer:

I remind members to speak through the chair.

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

I am sure that Michelle Ballantyne will welcome the fact that the PPM for Tweedbank is above the United Kingdom average, and that she will acknowledge that level of performance. That said, we want the level to be higher, where that can be delivered. The work that is being taken forward under the Donovan review, to which I have already referred, is about ensuring that that improvement takes place.

The member will be aware of the significant financial investment that the Scottish Government is making in new rolling stock to ensure that we have increased capacity—more seats on trains—and more modern trains, which will allow us to cascade other services to other parts of the country.

The member can be assured that we will do everything we can to drive up improvements in the ScotRail Alliance. Alongside that, we expect Network Rail to step up and to start addressing the difficulties that it is causing as a result of the infrastructure failures that have had a dramatic impact on service quality for many customers throughout Scotland.