2 October 2019

Ministers must use their power to end Abellio’s ScotRail franchise in 2022 – and refuse a three-year extension, Scottish Labour has said.

The party has tabled a motion at Holyrood, which will be heard on today, stating:

“This Parliament believes that the Government should not extend the current ScotRail franchise beyond its first expiry date in 2022.”

The beleaguered service from Abellio has consistently left passengers exasperated and successive transport ministers under pressure.

"Recent performance figures showed the operator recorded its worst performance time for August/September since taking over the franchise in 2015, despite the introduction of a remedial plan earlier this year to improve punctuality.

If the SNP Government wants to extended the franchise it would need to begin work on the negotiations from the end of this month and conclude them by the end of March.

However, if Labour’s motion is successful the Government would come under extreme pressure to issue a "no rebasing notice", meaning the franchise would expire in 2022.

Scottish Labour transport spokesperson Colin Smyth said:

“Having repeatedly moved the goalposts to make allowances for a succession of failures, it’s now decision time for the SNP government over whether they extend Abellio’s franchise.

“If they do extend it, it would mean another three years of performance failures, delays to infrastructure projects and chaos at the most crucial of times for the railway.

“The very least SNP ministers can do is ensure the franchise is handed back at the first expiry date in 2022.

"Many passengers think Abellio is well past its expiry date already.”
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