It was announced by the Scottish government that the current Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) for the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises will be extended.
The railway played a vital role in supporting the UK’s key workers throughout the pandemic, whilst also ensuring that vital supplies were kept moving.
Consequently, the EMAs were put in place in March 2021 to ensure passenger services could continue to operate, minimising disruption for both passengers and rail employees.
The agreements were intended to support greater flexibility, whilst transferring revenue and cost risk to the government during the Covid-19 outbreak. Initially, they were due to expire this month, but will now be in place until December 2021.
Train operators should expect to continue receiving payments to cover operating costs as necessary due to reduced revenues, with a small incentive payment linked strictly to good performance.
Transport Minister, Graeme Dey, said “as we continue through a period of economic recovery from the pandemic we have extended the Emergency Measures Agreements in order to minimise disruption to passengers and rail employees and allow passenger services to continue to operate during this period.”
The Minister continued, "this extension until December 2021 continues the extraordinary level of financial support from the Scottish Government for the rail industry and its staff which has been maintained throughout the pandemic.”
"We know our train operators are doing all they can to encourage passengers back to Scotland’s railway and we will work with the rail industry and the UK Government during the coming months to understand the ongoing impact of the outbreak and the contractual arrangements required after December 2021.”
He added, "it is recognised that the current exceptional levels of support are not likely to be financially sustainable beyond the pandemic period.”