Dr Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff and Buchan, has welcomed the announcement by Scottish Government Transport Minister of a new deal for Scotland’s railways, with a new franchise agreement that will see reduced fares and better working conditions for staff.
Operator Abellio, which will take on the running of the £6billion franchise from 1 April 2015. Abellio will move their UK HQ to Glasgow creating 50 new jobs alongside 150 jobs secured from First.
As a result of the new deal, passengers and staff will enjoy a range of benefits including advance fares starting at £5 between Scottish cities and a commitment to earnings of at least the Living Wage for all staff and subcontractors.
The deal also includes at least 100 apprenticeships; a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies; rail staff pensions and travel rights protected; free wifi on all trains; a new approach to cycling with more than 3,500 parking spaces and bike-hire at a number of stations; 80 new trains due to arrive at start of December 2017; 23 per cent more carriages across the network.
Commenting, Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford said:
“The new contract is great news for passengers in the North-east.
“The new deal will rejuvenate our rail service and deliver a first class service that will rival any public transport system in Europe.
“A large investment in new trains in the coming years is a welcome development in shortening journey times, and the pledge of £5 fares between Scotland’s major cities is a great step towards making public transport an affordable alternative to taking the car on long journeys.
“The pledge to pay Living Wage to all employees including subcontractors and the commitment to no compulsory redundancies is welcome news for those railway workers and with all staff to have their rail staff pensions and travel rights protected, this really does represent a better deal.
“The establishment of a new Scottish training academy will also help build a better rail industry for the future – and the commitment to 100 apprenticeships will help get things off to a flying start.”
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