South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has hit out at plans that could see rail services axed as part of moves by ScotRail to cut 300 services a day in Scotland from pre-pandemic levels to save the Government £40m a year in the current budget that supports rail services.
The proposals, which are being consulted on, are due to come into effect in May 2022 and would see 2,100 weekday trains running across Scotland compared to 2,400 before the Covid crisis.
For full details of the planned changes, click here.
Commenting on the plans Colin Smyth said: “Timetables across the south of Scotland were severely reduced due to Covid but these proposals will mean we will not see a return to even the pre-lockdown frequency and those covid cuts are clearly no longer temporary. The service in many areas prior to the pandemic wasn’t good enough and the fact we aren’t even reinstating this never mind improving on it, is deeply disappointing.
“These planned cuts will be the single biggest cut in rail services in the south of Scotland in living memory and really would undermine our journey to net-zero and efforts to urge people to get back on public transport.
“The moves seem very premature because the Government is still telling people to work from home.
“We simply do not know at this stage how many people will be commuting again come May next year.
“We need to be making it as easy as possible for people to get back on to public transport – but cutting dozens of services a day will leave us with infrequent trains. Prior to the pandemic many services were already woeful but now it’s set to get worse.
“It’s ironic that when a new coalition has been announced between the SNP and Greens, it seems that their first move is to attack public transport and damage the environment by forcing more people to use their cars.”