On the day the new Scotrail franchise begins, the Scottish Greens are highlighting their election pledge for public ownership of the railways as the default option when franchises come up for renewal. Abellio, the new Scotrail operator, is the state-owned rail company of the Netherlands, but UK law currently prevents public sector bids for rail franchises.


The Greens have today published a new briefing on the issue, highlighting the RMT's calculation that fares would fall by 7% if Scotrail did not pay dividends to shareholders.


Mark Ruskell, the Green candidate for Stirling, said:


"Today a new operator takes over Scotland's railways but if we want a first-class public service then Scotrail must be put into public hands, allowing it to invest more in lower fares and better services. The SNP and Labour have been weak on re-nationalisation, only the Greens are prepared to reverse the failed Tory privatisation of our railways.”


Alison Johnstone, Green MSP, said:


"Greens believe that the infrastructure arteries of our economy should be publicly-owned as default, so we’ll continue the fight to change the law that prevents this. It's somewhat ironic that the new operator of Scotrail is a business owned by the people of Holland at a time when keeping the railways in public hands is not an option in the UK."