Scottish transport minister Jenny Gilruth has offered ‘a national conversation’ on the future of the country’s rail services as she confirmed the transition of ScotRail into public ownership on 1 April.
She invited politicians and rail unions ‘to help shape the creation of an affordable, sustainable, customer focused rail passenger service in Scotland, in a post pandemic world’.
Ms Gilruth (pictured) added that she is looking forward to working closely with others, including women’s organisations and British Transport Police, to improve the public transport system, make it safer and 'build on the work already underway'.
Commenting on the transition of ScotRail into Scottish Government, she said: ‘It’s clear that much work still needs to be done – and in a collaborative way - to ensure the long-term sustainability of rail operations in Scotland, to best meet the needs of the people we all represent.'
She added: ‘I want to kick-start a national conversation about what our new beginning for ScotRail should look like. I invite all members who have a genuine interest in the future of ScotRail, to get involved and work with me to shape the change that needs to happen.
'Change will happen on 1 April – so let’s have a conversation about that change and let’s work together to influence how that happens. After all, we all want a railway that delivers for our constituents.’
Transport Scotland said the new company will benefit from public sector pay policy, like most other public sector arm's length bodies. Ms Gilruth said ministers ‘want to take all of ScotRail’s staff with us on this journey into Scottish Government ownership, adding: ‘That’s why this invitation is also extended to the rail unions.’
‘I also take the issue of women’s safety on public transport extremely seriously and we will be consulting with women and women’s organisations across the country to better understand their experiences and how we can improve our public transport system to make it safer and more enjoyable for them to use.’
Information on how people can get involved in the ‘conversation’ will be provided 'in the coming weeks'.