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To: Michael Matheson MSP, Minister for Transport of the Scottish Government

Public Ownership of Scotland’s Railway

Public Ownership of Scotland’s Railway

Dear Minister,

We demand that, in order to create a fully-integrated, efficient and affordable public transport system that provides a real green alternative to car travel, the Scottish Government must reverse the injustices caused by privatisation (buses in 1986 and railways in 1994) and return Scotland’s public transport to Public Ownership.

Why is this important?

Public transport is an essential public service. It facilitates the smooth running of our local and national economies, it helps cut the carbon emissions caused by car travel, and it enables everyone to participate in our society – to visit friends and family, to attend appointments, events or go shopping – without need or aspiration to own a car. Improving our public transport is the answer to many of the huge problems our country faces: the climate emergency, persistent poverty and social isolation and toxic air pollution.

Yet for more than thirty years, the privatisation of public transport has seen services deteriorate and fares continue to rise above inflation so that it is now unaffordable and impractical for many. Public subsidy has increased, yet the inefficiencies caused by privatisation (profit extraction, admin duplication and increased legal and borrowing costs) mean passengers are also having to pay more. Money which should have be spent on expanding and improving the network has been allowed to leak out. Communities have been left isolated, car ownership has risen and it’s the poorest in our society who have suffered the most.

This campaign was first launched in the wake of the Referendum on Independence in September 2014 to demand new powers over the Public Ownership of Scotland’s Railway, as the backbone to a fully-integrated, efficient and affordable public transport system fit for the 21st century. These powers were then granted in the Scotland Act 2016, allowing a public sector operator to take over the ScotRail franchise for the first time since the Railways Act 1993 came into effect in 1994.

Meanwhile on 1 April 2015, the Scottish Government awarded the contract to run ScotRail to Abellio, the Dutch state-owned company run by Nederlandse Spoorwegen, which has continued to perform poorly over the last five years. After voting against breaking Abellio’s contract on two occasions (November 2018 and October 2019) on 18 December 2019, the Minister for Transport Michael Matheson MSP, finally announced that he would end Abellio’s contract three years’ early (on 31 March 2022).

On 1 April 2020, we re-launched this campaign to demand that a public sector operator is ready to take over running ScotRail by 2022. Working alongside the new publicly-owned or publicly-controlled buses permitted in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, a publicly-owned ScotRail will finally give us the opportunity to create the fully-integrated, efficient and affordable public transport system we need to provide a real green alternative to car travel for us all.

This petition is supported by:

https://www.bringbackbritishrail.org/images/MakeScotRailPublic_supporters.png

To add your organisation to this list, please use the 'Contact User' button above.


Reasons for signing

  • all public transport must be owned by the public and not profiteering companys who are in the business to simply collect money
  • Let's have a publicly owned rail network that works for passengers not shareholders or foreign owners.
  • Public transport should work for the common good - wherever surplus can be gleaned it should be utilised to maintain and extend the Scottish network - and not subsidise other European rail users. It is evident that the current profit-driven franchisee has trimmed what were already fairly poor rail services to the detriment of the travelling public.

Updates

2020-04-03 14:26:32 +0100

Exactly five years ago, Abellio – the company owned by the Dutch government – took over running Scotland’s Railway. After years of poor service, on 18 December 2019, the Scottish Minister for Transport Michael Matheson MSP, finally announced that he would break Abellio’s contract three years’ early (on 31 March 2022).

On 1 April 2020, we re-launched the 'Make ScotRail Public' campaign in collaboration with our friends at Get Glasgow Moving, TSSA and We Own It, to demand that a public sector operator is ready to take over running ScotRail services by 2022.

Please help spread the word by sharing details on Facebook and Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/bringbackbritishrail/photos/a.475800166829/10157907468126830

https://twitter.com/bringbackBR/status/1245440559428390912

2016-11-27 16:02:58 +0000

It's been a great month for our campaign for the Public Ownership of Scotland's Railway, with the Scottish Government making plans for a public sector operator to take over ScotRail when the contract with Abellio ends.
http://www.facebook.com/bringbackbritishrail/posts/10154498056306830

I contributed to a discussion about rail re-nationalisation on BBC Radio Scotland last week, and have requested a meeting with Transport Minister Humza Yousef to ensure the passenger voice is at the heart of their new plans.
http://www.facebook.com/bringbackbritishrail/posts/10154546194816830

If you have ideas or comments about the future of a publicly-owned public transport system in Scotland, please get in touch! You can email me using the link above, or comment via this petition.

2015-03-04 11:27:51 +0000

27 February 2015:
On 10 January I wrote to Transport Minister Keith Brown to make him aware of our strategy to continue to lobby the Scottish Government for the early breaking - after 5 years - of the ScotRail contract he awarded to Dutch state-owned operators Abellio in October (which commences on 31 March). My questions about how to ensure that the proposals in The Smith Commission "to allow public sector operators to bid for rail franchises" are enacted, were passed on to Amanda McDonald of the Rail Strategy & Finance Team of Transport Scotland.

A response was received on 27 February. She indicates that there are now moves to amend the 'Railways Act 1993' which will allow Scottish Ministers "to appoint a UK public sector body to deliver passenger rail services for Scotland". Good news! But we must continue to keep the pressure on The Scottish Government to make this a reality.

Amanda McDonald's response:
http://www.bringbackbritishrail.org/materials/letter_keithbrown2.pdf

2014-12-06 11:36:56 +0000

6 December 2014:
Thanks to the lobbying of all who've signed this petition, The Smith Commission, published last week, says: "The power will be devolved to the Scottish Government to allow public sector operators to bid for rail franchises" (para 65).

On the advice of transport minister Keith Brown (below), we must now continue to put pressure on The Scottish Government to make this a reality.

Please help spread the word by SHARING the Facebook post:
https://www.facebook.com/bringbackbritishrail/posts/10152832493156830

And continue to sign and SHARE our petition online:
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/publicrailwayscotland

With clear evidence of public support, we can demand that they break the ridiculous new ScotRail franchise agreement with Dutch state-owned operators Abellio, and return ownership and control of our railways to the people of Scotland instead.

2014-10-22 12:31:12 +0100

22 October 2014:

We now have an important opportunity to make our thoughts known to The Smith Commission. We must demand that the new devolution settlement gives Scotland the power it was 'promised' to make the amendments to the 'Railways Act 1993', that will allow us to legally take our railways back into public ownership.

Please take two minutes to send an email to The Smith Commission today using 38 Degrees simple tool:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/scotland-devolution-commission

Below, I have copied the email that I sent to The Smith Commission myself. Please feel free to copy this, elaborate or write your own. But most importantly, if you care about the public ownership of our railways, please act!

2014-10-22 12:30:10 +0100

22 October 2014:

To: [email protected]
Dear Lord Smith and the Smith Commission,

Please give Scotland the power to amend the Railways Act 1993, so that we can legally take our railways back into public ownership.

This power was 'promised' by Gordon Brown the week before the Referendum on Independence (as part of the 'No' campaign's pledge) and in his speech on 20 September 2014:

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152668464471830

We now expect this promise to be honoured.

Yours sincerely,

Ellie Harrison

2014-10-13 13:21:47 +0100

10 October 2014:

Despite our warnings, Keith Brown has awarded the new ScotRail franchise to Abellio, an offshoot of Dutch national railways. This means that from 31 March 2015, Scottish passengers will pay high fares to subsidise public transport in Holland, such are the injustices of the Railways Act 1993 we oppose.

However, Keith Brown’s letter (below) does give some cause for optimism, particularly that this franchise agreement with Abellio can be broken within its first five years.

This means our fight has only just begun! This campaign will continue to amass support for the Public Ownership of our Railway over the next few years (in the run up to the next Scottish Parliamentary election on 5 May 2016) as clear evidence of public support for this policy.

Please help us by SHARING the link and asking organisations you know or work with to officially pledge their support and join the growing list above.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/publicrailwayscotland

2014-10-13 13:18:39 +0100

6 October 2014:

The re-franchising of ScotRail was scheduled to be announced in October 2014, which meant that the immediate demand of this campaign was to push for delaying this decision until the new devolution settlement has been agreed in 2015, which should include the necessary changes to the Railways Act 1993 that would make Public Ownership of our Railways a possible option. On 27 September 2014, we wrote to Keith Brown to express this demand.

Keith Brown’s response: http://www.bringbackbritishrail.org/materials/letter_keithbrown.pdf

2014-10-13 13:16:17 +0100

20 September 2014:

This campaign does not intend to take an ideological Yes or No position in the Independence debate. It was launched in the wake of the Referendum to maintain the energy across Scotland for creating a fairer society and to ensure that the ‘promises’ made by Gordon Brown for changes to the Railways Act 1993, which would mean there could be “no more enforced rail privatisation against the will of the people of Scotland”, are upheld.

Gordon Brown’s 'promise': https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152668464471830

2014-10-08 21:50:52 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2014-09-19 22:28:55 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2014-09-19 14:05:38 +0100

500 signatures reached

2014-09-19 10:21:35 +0100

100 signatures reached

2014-09-19 10:08:57 +0100

50 signatures reached

2014-09-19 10:04:37 +0100

25 signatures reached

2014-09-19 10:02:15 +0100

10 signatures reached