Here’s today’s headline:
‘ScotRail under fire over record £4.5 million performance fine’
The headline was later changed but remains in the url. You’d be forgiven for thinking that means a single £4.5 million fine when in fact it’s the total of all fines over the last year. Nineteen paragraphs in we find that the ‘fire’ comes from just one source, Dr John Mccormick of the Scottish association for Public Transport in a very short, vague quote, which looks like a sleepy response to an early-morning approach from the Herald rather than any spontaneous attack by him. Twenty paragraphs into the report we discover that the word ‘fine’ or ‘fines’ could have done with speech marks as they are not actually fines but a ‘reinvestment fund’ which is reinvested in the rail system.
To add a little context to the above story, here’s what the National Rail Passenger Survey for Autumn 2017, published in January 2018, found – 96% of ScotRail passengers were satisfied overall with their journeys. This placed ScotRail 4th (equal) out of 26 UK rail companies.
As for the fines. Is £4.5 million a high figure in the wider context? Well Southern Rail were fined £13.4 million in 2016/17 for just the London to Brighton run.