The Transport Minister is urging the travelling public to plan their journeys, ahead of a second round of strike action on Scotland’s railways.
Humza Yousaf has chaired the Scottish Government’s resilience committee for a third time to discuss contingency plans for a second walkout by members of the RMT union tomorrow (Thursday, June 23).
ScotRail estimates around 70 per cent of services will run as normal, but some disruption is inevitable.
A Multi-Agency Response Team (MART) will once again be in operation on Thursday, involving representation from Network Rail, ScotRail, Traffic Scotland, Police Scotland, and Operating Companies. It will monitor the situation throughout the day to help ensure the public has the latest information and agencies are equipped to respond to any major incidents.
Mr Yousaf said: “The issue of safety is a top priority on our railways, so I’m very disappointed that we’re planning for a second round of industrial action when further dialogue between ScotRail and the RMT union is still an option.
“It is the travelling public that loses out in situations like this, so I once again urge both parties to reopen meaningful discussions to work towards an agreement that stops further strikes from going ahead.
“I commend travellers for their efforts during the first strike earlier this week and urge them to prepare for more disruption on the railways on Thursday.
“The ScotRail website has details of affected services and alternative timetables to help commuters plan their journeys. We would again ask them to think about alternative measures to help ease the pressure on the rail network, such as working from home, car-sharing, avoiding travel at peak periods, and using buses to get to work.
“Roads will inevitably be busier on Thursday as a result of the strike and the network will be actively monitored from the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre. The latest journey information will be readily available from travel operators websites, Travel Line and Traffic Scotland, and the Trunk Road Incident Support Service (TRISS) stands ready to patrol the key routes and deal with incidents as quickly as possible. Those travelling to the islands by ferry should also consider alternative options in relation to rail connections.
“The Scottish Government’s Resilience operation will monitor developments throughout the day and receive regular updates from the ScotRail Alliance, Transport Scotland and other key stakeholders.
“It is important to remember that Ministers do not set the operational policy of the railway, but look to ScotRail and their employee representatives to agree the most efficient solution to take forward with the new train fleet. Our recent announcement of over 200 new daily services from 2018 will mean new jobs and opportunities in ScotRail, not cuts. We are delivering record-breaking investment in Scotland’s railways, supporting new and better services, new routes and stations, and over 13,000 jobs both directly in the rail industry and through the supply chains.
“I once again thank the public for their patience during this strike action and reiterate that the Scottish Government’s priority will always be to ensure the safe and efficient running of our railways.”
Alternative timetables and further information on affected routes are available here scotrail