The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the voice of the rail supply community, has responded to the confirmation that ScotRail services will transfer into public ownership from April.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed the transition of ScotRail services into public ownership will take place on April 1, 2022.
Ms Gilruth added that she is looking forward to working closely with wider partners including women’s organisations and British Transport Police to improve the public transport system, make it safer and build on the work already underway.
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Ms Gilruth said: “It’s clear that much work still needs to be done – and in a collaborative way – to ensure the long term sustainability of rail operations in Scotland, to best meet the needs of the people we all represent.
“I want to kick-start a National Conversation about what our new beginning for ScotRail should look like – an affordable, sustainable, customer focused rail passenger service in Scotland in a post pandemic world. I invite all Members who have a genuine interest in the future of ScotRail, to get involved and work with me to shape the change that needs to happen. Change will happen on April the 1st – so let’s have a conversation about that change and let’s work together to influence how that happens. After all, we all want a railway that delivers for our constituents.
“Our rail staff have a vital role to play in shaping and delivering a successful future railway for Scotland. Like so many of our essential workers, ScotRail staff, and indeed, all our rail workers, went above and beyond throughout the pandemic. We will always be grateful to them for all that they did to help keep our rail services running during these challenging last two years.
“We want to take all of ScotRail’s staff with us on this journey into Scottish Government ownership. That’s why this invitation is also extended to the rail unions. We know the unions are passionate about the industry, and through open and frank discussion we can work together to harness that aspirations for the future. I look forward to those conversations tomorrow.
“I also take the issue of women’s safety on public transport extremely seriously and we will be consulting with women and women’s organisations across the country to better understand their experiences and how we can improve our public transport system to make it safer and more enjoyable for them to use.
“We want ScotRail to deliver the rail services the people of Scotland – and the generations yet to come – need and deserve.”
David Clarke, RIA Scotland head, said: “The Scottish Government has confirmed ScotRail’s new structure from this April, and set out its priorities for the network going forward, stressing the need to deliver an affordable, sustainable and customer focused rail service. RIA and our members urge that the transition to the new structure is made as seamless as possible, so rail suppliers can continue to deliver effectively, to time and budget, without any hiatus in work.
“Rail suppliers across Scotland and the UK support thousands of jobs and drive investment and economic growth, and have the capabilities to build a net zero railway. As the Scottish Government delivers these changes, it is important it prioritises engaging closely with the supply chain, which plays a pivotal role in building, maintaining and upgrading the country’s rail network.”