There is an urgent need for wide-scale updates to the rail network of Scotland, according to an influential business group.
The call has come from the country’s Chamber of Commerce (SCC). The group has gone on record saying that rail services from Perth northwards are “unfit for purpose”, following a consultation into the next railway franchises by the Scottish government.
The major improvements requested are direct services with the Highlands and north-east, greater provision of wi-fi and availability of services reaching Glasgow and Edinburgh by 09:00 in plenty of time for meetings through the week.
In providing a better service to business customers, economic growth throughout the country could be enhanced and allow for a greater optimisation of working hours by executives. Having to cope with insufficient rail networks simply adds to the problems many businesses face.
The issue with gaining access to finance is already well documented, though strategies such as invoice factoring are helping many overcome this. Even with guaranteed funding though, a lack of adequate services makes attending meetings troublesome.
Another concern raised by the SCC highlights this. They are calling for the availability of business class seats to be improved – a lack of these often prevents executives completing essential work.
It is all a question of targeting resources better, according the chief executive of SCC Liz Cameron:
“At present, too much resource is being deployed to service assets for which there is little customer need.”
The franchise is due for renewal in November 2014 and the SCC are calling for an extension to the present ten year deals, to allow for greater planning.