RAIL PASSENGERS MUST be helped in finding how they can claim compensation due to them from delays and cancellations.
That was the message at the heart of a question posed to under-fire transport minister Hamza Yousaf as he attempted to defend the record of ScotRail since the national rail franchise was awarded to Dutch firm Abellio.
Regional Scottish Greens MSP and spokesperson on transport, John Finnie, challenged Mr Yousaf on Wednesday during a debate over the growing dissatisfaction from the service being provided by Abellio.
Mr Finnie said: “It is very important that the Minister has recognised the level, and indeed growing, dissatisfaction with the service being provided by Abellio.
“I am pleased that the Minister agreed to ask Scotrail to review the possibility of commuters automatically being given compensation forms following delays and cancellations as happens routinely in other countries.
“Mr Yousaf rightly stated that commuters should not have “additional hoops to jump through” following a let down in the service.
“I am also pleased that he undertook to examine my proposal of directing capital investment to upgrade facilities for passengers waiting for connections utilising funds arising from fines dealt out to the previous franchise holder.
“I look forward to the outcomes of the review by ScotRail and I hope they will learn the lessons that other countries can provide.”
During his statement Mr Yousaf said that Abellio had “learned lessons” since taking over the ScotRail franchise – but that their performance was “not up to scratch”.
He said: “Everyone rightly expects a railway network that operates effectively. So when things go wrong I fully understand the dissatisfaction of passengers and the inconvenience that is caused.
“Although there are no guarantees major failures won’t happen, I give my reassurance that ScotRail has learned lessons and is far better prepared for contingencies, including communication with passengers, when such incidents do take place.”
He added: “I know about the work that is required and the service that is to be delivered. I am taking action and a plan is now in place. This government has a track record of delivering for our railways and it is my firm intention that we will continue to do so.”