SNP Socialists: Time for a debate on the prospect of public transport nationalisation


SNP Socialists – a newly formed group aiming to bring together socialist members of the Scottish National Party – has officially endorsed a motion calling for public transport nationalisation ahead of the SNP’s party conference at the SECC next month.

Discussing the subject at their inaugural meeting in Glasgow on Saturday 20th August, members of the group agreed to support the motion acknowledging the contribution of public transport to the daily lives of the people of Scotland and calling for transport services to be fully accountable to taxpayers rather than private shareholders. The motion argues that a move to take transport services into public ownership would see fairer prices, improved worker conditions, and increased control and accountability.

Photo Credit: Passenger Transport

A YouGov poll in 2013 found that 66% of the British public believe railway companies should be nationalised and run in the public sector, with 23% believing they should be privatised. In the same poll, 72% felt that the government should have the power to control the prices of public transport fares, rather than the companies providing the service.

Commenting, SNP Socialists Convenor Rory Steel said:

“We fully support the Scottish National Party’s plans to enact legislation in order to change franchise rules which have in the past excluded the UK’s public sector from running rail services and we recognise that the further devolution of powers would be required to allow full nationalisation. However, we do believe that the party should be moving forward towards putting a full and frank debate on the prospect of public transport nationalisation on the agenda.”

“We have some of the highest train fares in Europe thanks to the profiteering of the private companies running these services in Scotland. Not only is this completely unfair when compared to fares in the likes of Belgium and Italy, but there are very few users of these services who would claim this to be value for money. Late and cancelled services, dirty and ramshackle buses and train carriages, and cramped conditions are just some of the examples of poorly delivered transport services which we pay ever-increasing prices to use.”

“We now have confirmation that ScotRail will be reinforcing their ‘Buy-Before-You-Board’ policy on all routes, which will further compound the costs of those who perhaps don’t have the time to pick a ticket up at the station prior to their travel. Profit regularly seems to trump providing a genuinely well-run service and it is time to seriously consider moving towards the public ownership of transport in Scotland so that we can have better, cheaper, and far more efficient transport services than we do currently.”