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ScotRail faces £2.2m fine for poor performance

by Conrad Landin and Lynsey Bews

SCOTLAND’S private rail operator is “charging Premiership prices for League Two performance,” train drivers said today as ScotRail faced a £2.2 million bill for bad performance in the first half of 2018.

A service-quality report covering April to June showed the operator met just 15 out of 38 targets, being caught short over toilets, train cleanliness and litter at stations.

Transport Scotland issued £1,061,000 of fines for this period, which follows more than £1,180,000 of penalties between January and March.

Drivers’ union Aslef said the news came as “no surprise” to railway workers. “Those of us on the front line — ScotRail train drivers and other railway staff — see every day how the company comes up short,” the union’s Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay said.

He called for ScotRail to be brought back into public ownership “so it works for the people of Scotland … rather than allow a private company to charge Premiership prices for League Two performance.”

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “These fines are not worth the paper they are written on, with privately run ScotRail funded by the taxpayer through subsidies in the first place.

“It is passengers who are essentially paying both the fines and the price for [ScotRail’s] continued mismanagement of our railways.”

ScotRail said the money from penalties is reinvested into Scotland’s railways. David Lister, the firm’s sustainability and safety-assurance director, claimed the figures “confirm the progress ScotRail is making.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “There is still clearly work to be done and we expect to see further progress from ScotRail in the coming months.”


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