Question S6W-05589: Neil Bibby, Scottish Labour Party, West Scotland, answered on 21 January 2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will simplify rail ticketing for end-to-end journeys under the new ScotRail operator and, if so, what steps it will take to achieve this.
Graeme Dey, Minister for Transport: Our priority is for a seamless transition for passengers and staff throughout the transition to ScotRail Trains Ltd from 1 April and during the business' first year of operation. We have empowered ScotRail to review its range of fares offerings to respond to changing travel behaviours due to the impacts of the Covid pandemic, and as part of this work to seek to simplify fares where possible as part of an improved service to passengers.
In addition, the Fair Fares Review, which is currently in its planning stages, is being undertaken by Transport Scotland to ensure a sustainable and integrated approach to public transport fares in the future.
Question S6W-05989: Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green Party, Mid Scotland and Fife, answered on 14 February 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what correspondence it has had with (a) rail unions and (b) other stakeholders in the last 12 months on developing new rail freight routes and services.
Jenny Gilruth, Minister for Transport: The Scottish Government routinely receives correspondence from a range of stakeholders including those who are interested in growing rail freight. With regard to rail unions specifically, ASLEF wrote in November 2021 to the then Minister for Transport, and this was followed by a meeting in January to discuss rail freight growth. At this meeting, the Minister invited ASLEF to attend a rail freight industry roundtable meeting on 28 January, chaired by the Director of Rail at Transport Scotland, to discuss how opportunities for rail freight growth can be harnessed.
The Low Carbon Logistics Conference held during COP26 at Mossend also provided the ideal platform to showcase the low carbon transition in the rail and road sectors and how the rail freight industry can help to decarbonise the overall logistics sector.
Question S6W-06139: Christine Graham, Scottish National Party, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, answered on 3 March 2022
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of changes in work patterns and increased hybrid working impacting on commuting, whether it will consider, as part of ScotRail moving into public ownership, liaising with VisitScotland to discuss increasing tourism on the rail network by combining rail tickets with discounted entrance charges to participating national attractions.
Jenny Gilruth: VisitScotland already works closely with ScotRail as a key national partner. The relationship includes liaising on matters relating to the visitor experience and running joint marketing campaigns, including a spring 2022 campaign to promote family days out in Scotland's cities.
ScotRail Trains Limited have been charged with producing a Market Growth Strategy, from April 2022, that develops and implements appropriate products and services to address post-Covid markets including, in particular, tourism. To assist with the development of that strategy and in furtherance of the relationship that exists between ScotRail and VisitScotIand. I have asked my officials to establish with them what more can be done to promote tourism and, in particular, actions to encourage visits to national attractions by rail.
Question S6W-06565: Neil Bibby, Scottish Labour Party, West Scotland, answered on 21 March 2022
To ask the Scottish Government (a) what the timescale is and (b) which groups it will consult for its "national conversation" about the future of ScotRail.
Jenny Gilruth: Due to the local elections period, it is expected that the national rail conversation will get underway after 5 May local elections. Decisions on a more definitive timescale will be arrived at when agreement has been reached with Trade Union partners and other interested stakeholders.
It is envisaged that the national conversation will engage a wide ranging group of stakeholders including passengers, regional transport partnerships, rail unions, disability groups, businesses and educational interests.
Transport Scotland officials are currently considering the details on the most effective and productive engagement programme to deliver the national rail conversation.
Question S6W-07580: Finlay Carson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Galloway and West Dumfries, answered on 14 April 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what additional resources will be made available for rural transport infrastructure.
Jenny Gilruth: The Scottish Government ambitions for future investment in rural transport infrastructure are included in the 45 draft recommendations within the second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2), published on the 20 January 2022. The recommendations form the future transport infrastructure investment priorities for Scotland over the next twenty years and cover the whole country with a focus on active travel; bus priority; getting more freight onto rail; improving the safety and resilience of the transport network and the decarbonisation of the transport system. STPR2 provides the necessary evidence base required to help secure the future funding of these projects, including those that have potential to transform the way we travel in rural areas.
More specifically, STPR2 recommends investment in Demand Responsive Transport and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to support improved public transport connectivity, including in rural areas where conventional fixed route services may not be suitable or viable. In addition, much of Scotland's rural population resides in towns and villages and there are a number of draft active travel recommendations for these settlements. This includes connecting towns and villages, improving active travel on trunk roads through communities and long distance active travel networks.
Investing in our Trunk Road and Motorway network is important in order to improve safety and resilience of the network for the communities and businesses of Scotland. STPR2 recommendations for strategic roads focus on safety, climate change adaptation and resilience. For safety improvements these will be a primary, but not exclusive, focused on rural sections. Specifically for South West Scotland, STPR2 recommends that safety, resilience and reliability improvements are made on the A75 and A77 strategic road corridors, in turn supporting placemaking opportunities. While to encourage greater use of public transport and support wider town regeneration proposals, STPR2 recommends that consideration should also be given to upgrading or relocating Stranraer rail station.