Question S6W-11363: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, answered on 5 October 2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its Franchise Agreement with Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited.
Jenny Gilruth: I can confirm that today Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited has been advised that its proposal to rebase the Franchise Agreement with Scottish Ministers for the provision of Caledonian Sleeper rail services has been rejected on the grounds of not representing value for money to the public. Additionally, I can confirm that a notice was served today which confirms that the Scottish Ministers will terminate the Franchise Agreement with Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited on 25 June 2023.
Work is underway to determine arrangements for the continued provision of Caledonian Sleeper rail services beyond 25 June 2023 and this will be updated to Parliament once determined.
It is worth noting that Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited has, broadly, delivered well and significantly improved Caledonian Sleeper services over the last 7 years.
Question S6W-10663: Pauline McNeill, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, answered on 5 October 2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether there are any plans to implement tactile paving in all train stations to help disabled passengers to travel safely using trains.
Jenny Gilruth: I can confirm that, Network Rail Scotland, has developed a plan for installing platform edge tactile paving at all Scottish stations by the end of the current Rail Regulatory Control Period 6 (end of March 2024). The work is being completed over two phases. Phase 1 installed tactile paving at 18 high priority stations by the end of March 2022, phase 2 will address the remaining 148 stations.
Question S6W-11821: Monica Lennon, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, answered on 11 November 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what action it will take to support local authorities to establish their own bus services, so that any locally-owned companies can provide integrated and improved services, which may lead to a reduction in fares for passengers.
Jenny Gilruth: The new powers provided by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 enable local authorities to determine what is best for their own areas. I recognise that not every authority will want to run their own bus services, some may opt for a partnership or franchise approach. It is important that the options within the Act are fully explored to ensure they are appropriate for the area and are sustainable for local authorities' long term. Work is currently ongoing with local authorities and COSLA to determine how best to allocate funding in light of the emergency budget review.
As you know, we are also undertaking a Fair Fares Review to ensure a sustainable and integrated approach to public transport fares as we recover from the pandemic. As part of the Review, we are considering both the availability of services and the range of discounts and concessionary schemes, which are available on all modes including bus, rail and ferry. We will also consider options that maintain and increase affordability for those who need it most, taking cognisance of the relative changes to the overall cost of travel.
Question S6W-12066: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered on 22 November 2022
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S6W-11710 by Jenny Gilruth on 8 November 2022, what actions and processes ScotRail has put in place to improve its arrangements for passengers requiring travel assistance.
Jenny Gilruth: ScotRail and Network Rail teams have reinforced to staff the importance of passenger assistance adhering to the correct procedures when a passenger is being assisted onto or off a train.
In the event there is no ticket examiner on board the train to deploy the ramp, the station staff will alert the Customer Service Centre and alternative arrangements can be made. At unstaffed stations, customers are advised to make contact with the Customer Service Centre team via the platform Help Point. If customers are unable to book assistance in advance, they can turn up and request assistance from ScotRail's on-train staff. Both the station and on-train staff are trained to look out for customers who appear to need help on platforms before the train leaves the station. If customers are travelling from an unstaffed station, they can speak to a member of staff via the station Help Point. Managers have been asked to ensure they monitor these procedures.
Question S6W-12113: Jamie Greene, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered on 22 November 2022
To ask the Scottish Government on what specific date it will make an announcement regarding the continued provision of Caledonian Sleeper rail services beyond 25 June 2023.
Jenny Gilruth: In accordance with the requirements of the Railways Act 1993 and the Scottish Ministers' Franchising Policy Statement, consideration is being given to the successor arrangement for the continued provision of Caledonian Sleeper services.
The Scottish Ministers have to work within the relevant current legislation, principally the Railways Act 1993, which neither they nor the Scottish Parliament have powers to change.
Question S6W-12057: Richard Leonard, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, answered on 24 November 2022
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S6W-07663 by Jenny Gilruth on 27 April 2022, whether it will publish the programme of activities for the National Rail Conversation.
Jenny Gilruth: After initial planning work with transport partners and stakeholder, Transport Scotland officials are engaged in finalising the programme for the National Rail Conversation, including the first significant public phase, of external stakeholder engagement. This will see key stakeholders, including rail staff representatives, invited to a number of events in the New Year. These sessions will enable those taking part to offer their views on the National Rail Conversation. Further details of the programme will be provided at these even and announced in due course.