South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has blasted the Scottish Government following proposals by ScotRail to cut 300 train services across Scotland from May 2022, including many in the south of Scotland.
Colin Smyth raised the issue with Transport Minister Graeme Dey in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday during Portfolio Question Time.
When asked by the local MSP about the Government’s response to ScotRail’s plans, Graeme Dey claimed the number of services would increase, however, this is not the case when the numbers are compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Speaking in parliament, Colin Smyth said: “I am sure that the minister does not want to mislead people by implying that the overall number of services will not be reduced compared to the pre-pandemic level, because that is exactly what the proposals are about.
“Frankly, we will not get people back on our trains by taking their train away. I ask the minister this specifically: will the Scottish National Party-Green Government rule out reducing the overall number of rail services compared to pre-pandemic levels when that new timetable is introduced in May 2022?”
Speaking after the debate, Colin Smyth said: “I was very disappointed by the response I got from the minister to my question.
“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.
“It is also important to remember that while a lot of people have been avoiding public transport during the pandemic, we simply do not know at this stage how many people will be commuting again come May next year.
“ScotRail has a consultation open right now until 1 October and I am urging as many people as possible to give their views about how they would be affected by the planned changes.”