Rail franchises operators & contracts

25.03.19

ScotRail submits £18m improvement plan in response to government improvement notice

Under-fire train operator ScotRail has unveiled an £18m remedial plan to recruit more staff and bring in additional high-speed trains in response to the government’s improvement demands last month.

Transport Scotland issued ScotRail with a remedial plan notice after the operator failed to meet contractual targets and its performance dropped below an “acceptable level.”                          

Its bid to improve services will see an extra 55 drivers and 30 conductors hired during 2019, and an increased focus on fleet reliability will see three additional high-speed trains (HSTs) being leased.

Eight Hitachi technicians and seven maintenance controllers will work closely with ScotRail and Network Rail to resolve faults and customer information screens at 16 different stations will also be upgraded.

Around £500,000 will be spent every year on the Performance Improvement Fund (PIF), and the plan will see a total of £18m invested by the company in improvements.

The managing director of ScotRail Alliance Alex Hynes said: “Improving the service our customers receive is the priority for everyone at ScotRail, working with Network Rail and key suppliers. I am confident that this plan will deliver significant improvements on Scotland’s Railway.

“We have worked hard to identify specific areas to focus our efforts where they will have the most impact. The funds we have invested in this plan is a demonstration of our commitment to delivering the service our customers expect and deserve.”

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said last month whilst issuing the improvement notice – ScotRail’s second in less than two months – that he “requires action” to ensure ongoing investment in infrastructure, fleets and staff translate into better satisfaction levels and a more attractive service.

ScotRail has a contractual obligation to reach an average customer satisfaction of 88.5% - but after this fell to 79% in the National Rail Passenger Survey, Transport Focus said the operator would need to score a high 90% to achieve the required average.

Alex Hynes has recently held discussions with Aberdeen MSP Mark McDonald in Scottish Parliament after a string of complaints about ScotRail, and the operator was fined £2.2m in October after missing targets.

Earlier this month, ScotRail did confirm that its Class 365 ‘happy trains’ fleet was being withdrawn and replaced with new Hitachi Class 385s, and the operator has also expanded its new electric trains to routes across Glasgow.

Image credit - georgeclerk

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