Transport Minister Humza Yousaf plans to make an urgent statement to Parliament on Wednesday about plans to improve Scotland’s railways.
Mr Yousaf said ScotRail is not providing a “poor service” but is not at an “acceptable standard” and has agreed to face questions at Holyrood on the future of ScotRail services after criticism of current operator Abellio.
ScotRail had to produce a performance improvement plan in September, at the request of Transport Scotland, after punctuality and reliability fell below standard, and a train breakdown in Edinburgh last Thursday caused widespread disruption for passengers, leading to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon apologising.
Mr Yousaf told BBC Radio Scotland that Parliament would decide on the timing of the statement but he expected to make it on Wednesday.
He said: “What I’ll be saying is highlighting some of the 246 individual actions that are in the improvement plan. Services and performance have not been to the acceptable standard that I expect.
“The Scottish Government and my job is to make sure that passengers are put first and get the best possible service so I’ll be outlining some of those actions that have happened, that are happening and that are going to happen to improve performance on our railways.”
He said the situation was already improving and an annual measure of punctuality and reliability had improved from 89.5 to 89.8 in the last eight weeks measured.
He said: “It’s not a poor service, let’s just put this into perspective – 89.8, that’s almost 90 trains out of 100 are running to their contractually obligated time. That’s not to say there aren’t problems and there aren’t issues, there are.”
Mr Yousaf has said he wants to work with unions and other political parties to put together a public sector bid to run the railways, which could be ready for 2020 when a clause in the contract with Abellio would allow it to be broken.
Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman Neil Bibby told BBC Radio Scotland:”Labour want to see a publicly owned people’s ScotRail run for passengersbefore profits and we believe that profits should be reinvested back into therail network that currently are not being reinvested.
“There is significant investment going into the railways but there is a significant subsidy being given to Abellio to run our railways, but in addition to that Abellio are making a lot of profits which should be reinvested back into the railways.
“But unfortunately we will not see a public sector bid until at the earliest 2022 but in the meantime Humza Yousaf and the SNP Government need to focus on the here and now to deliver an improvement plan that actually makes matters better not worse and that they take the action to put in place a proper plan for an operator of last resort.”