Issue 5

SCOTRAIL'S FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

By Sean Duffy, Commercial Director, ScotRail

At 2am on 17 October 2004, ScotRail formally took over the rail franchise. What followed was a new dawn for Scotland’s railways. Literally.

When we started, there were fewer passengers, fewer trains and services. Today, we’re running hundreds more trains - and new stations and lines have opened. We’ve introduced innovative products – including Kids Go Free and Club 55 – and are at the rail industry’s forefront of developing Smartcard technology.

In less than nine years, passenger numbers are up 30% - to 81.1m. They continue to grow, giving even more people the opportunity to switch to public transport. Such growth is a clear sign that people have welcomed the new services and the improved access to jobs, education and leisure.

In less than nine years, passenger numbers are up 30% - to 81.1m. They continue to grow, giving even more people the opportunity to switch to public transport.

Our staff are at the heart of encouraging the resurgence of rail travel. They are fundamental to raising standards, providing excellent customer service and driving the business forward. One of Scotland’s largest employers, we gained Silver accreditation in the prestigious Investors in People last year - and are now going for Gold.
 
Other achievements include record high customer satisfaction ratings and our performance in environmental excellence which promotes a low carbon footprint. We are more than a transport operator. ScotRail plays a key economic role – by connecting communities, opening up new markets for companies, and improving access for tourists.

The investment in Scotland’s railways is set to contune too with the partnership approach between the Scottish Government, Network Rail, and other stakeholders. Recent gains include the £300m Glasgow-Edinburgh via Bathgate link, introducing direct services from Helensburgh and Milngavie in the west to Edinburgh. And the £650m Glasgow-Edinburgh Improvement Programme is underway. It will cut journey times; introduce longer electric trains and more capacity and deliver the Edinburgh Gateway Station, connecting services to the tram network and Edinburgh Airport. Beyond that the Borders Railway - now under construction - has the potential to bring real benefits too - and take traffic off busy roads.

The landmark new alliance between ScotRail and Network Rail, which owns and operates the rail infrastructure, is leading to an even more reliable railway and to further infrastructure enhancements with cost savings for the industry and Government. For example, the Paisley Canal line has been electrified - with the upgrade delivered at less than half the £28m original cost.

The landmark new alliance between ScotRail and Network Rail, which owns and operates the rail infrastructure, is leading to an even more reliable railway

Innovation in all these activities is crucial. Our Wi-Fi trials on selected trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh have now been extended to Edinburgh-Aberdeen and Edinburgh-Inverness services, and the expansion will continue. Our Smartcard programme, trialled on Edinburgh-Glasgow Queen Street services, is also being extended.

We recognise there is more to be done. Working with the Scottish Government, we will freeze off-peak fares in 2014. And any increase in peak fares will be capped at RPI next year - and in 2015. In addition, off-peak fares will be pegged at RPI minus 1% from 2016.

Our focus is on the future – from further improving customer service levels to introducing more service enhancements – and, of course, delivering world class travel to support the Commonwealth Games 2014 and Ryder Cup 2014 at Gleneagles.

The renaissance of Scotland’s railways in which ScotRail, along with Transport Scotland, industry partners and stakeholders are partnering to deliver, will continue.

By Sean Duffy, Commercial Director, ScotRail

Issue 5

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