This week marked a major step towards the government’s roadmap out of lock down as many restaurants and non-essential stores opened to the public for this first time this year. With so much now to gain the losses however could not be ignored in the rail industry.
The Dutch-owned company Abellio, which runs the Scotland rail franchise, posted a pre-tax loss of £64.5m in the 12 months to 31 March 2020.
In the previous 15-month accounting period, its losses were just over £11m.
The operator said the national lockdown in March last year had a "significant" impact on its financial performance.
Since March last year, ScotRail has been receiving emergency funding to help it cope with the impact of coronavirus, under an agreement with the Scottish government.
Turnover for the year fell £72m to £917m, with passenger income falling from £445.3m in 2019 to £360.4m.
ScotRail’s franchise subsidy from Transport Scotland rose over the same period from £482.8m to £526.3m.
However, though the widely felt effects of Covid19 the company can’t blame its losses singularly on the pandemic. In December 2019 for example, Abellio was stripped of the contract to run ScotRail services by the Scottish government amid criticism of performance levels.
Their financial statement explained: “In response to the pandemic an emergency measures agreement was entered into with the Scottish Government, and while this insulates the company as far as reasonable from the severe financial impacts of the pandemic, the expected cash flows across the remainder of the franchise term have been significantly impacted.
“As a result of government intervention telling people not to travel, there was a significant reduction in passengers travelling with Abellio ScotRail - up to 95% reduction on the prior year."
The Scottish government as a consequence of the consistent issues, announced last month that the franchise would be taken over by a public sector body from the end of March next year. Evidence that government decision makers are way past the point of giving Abellio the benefit of the doubt.