In the Herald today, we read one of the worst examples of bias by exaggeration and omission in an attempt to damage the SNP government by association with the national rail company, ScotRail. Here’s what they had to say:
‘Misery for passengers sees Scotrail fined a record amount. Rail passengers’ misery has been laid bare after ScotRail has received record fines for failing to meet required standards for the running of the nation’s trains and stations.’
Note: I had to add the apostrophe after ‘passengers’.
Now, I’m sure there is an inverse correlation between fines and customer satisfaction – the higher the fines the lower the satisfaction but you need to know a whole lot more before you start suggesting the passengers are all miserable. You’d need to ask them and that’s what the National Rail Passenger Survey for Autumn 2017, published in January 2018, did.
They found that 96% of ScotRail passengers were satisfied overall with their journeys. This placed ScotRail 4th (equal) out of 26 UK rail companies. They didn’t ask if anyone had been made miserable by them.
Now for the fines which the Herald thought meant passengers must be miserable. It’s £3 million so far in this financial year. The financial year is nearly over. Is that a lot?
Well, Southern Rail were fined £13.4 million in 2016/17 for just the London to Brighton run.
And, in 2015/16, Scotrail provided 93.2 million passenger journeys over 2.8 billion passenger-kilometres.
So, ScotRail were fined an average of 3p per passenger-journey or 0.1p per passenger-kilometre. That making anyone miserable?