ScotRail financial data and passenger journey information: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/02984
Date received: 7th December 2017
Date responded: 15th January 2018

Information requested

Please provide,

  • the total annual net income, expenditure and profit for Scotrail in each of the financial years 2015/16 and 2016/17
  • any and all information, data or analysis that has been carried estimating the total annual net income, expenditure and profit for Scotrail for the financial year 2017/18
  • the total passenger journeys that have there been on Scotrail services for each year of the present franchise agreement

If possible, please also provide:

  • the price of the current franchise agreement
  • details of the methodology that was used to determine the price of the current franchise agreement


ScotRail passenger journeys

ScotRail Passenger Journeys during the current franchise

Date (March years) Passenger Journeys
2015/16 93.833m
2016/17 94.238m

These data have been advised by the Office of Road & Rail (ORR).

ScotRail financial data

I enclose the information you requested, with respect to ScotRail's profit in 2015/16 and 2016/17, the cost of the franchise to Transport Scotland, and the evaluation methodology used for the tender. This is provided below.

ScotRail Profitabilit 2015 and 2016 (calendar years)

Abellio ScotRail posted a profit of £9,519k in 2015 and a loss of £3,370k in 2016. The figure for 2017 is not yet available.

Cost of the ScotRail Contract

Information in relation to the cost of the ScotRail Franchise Agreement can be found at the following link:

Scotrail Franchise

Details of the methodology that was used to determine the price of the current franchise agreement.

Refer here for a link through to the Invitation to Tender for the current ScotRail franchise:

Scotrail Franchise Invitation to Tender

The evaluation methodology for the bids is provided in Section 3.4, p37 of the document.

For the remaining information: while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the remaining information you have requested because an exemption under Section 33 (1) (b) (commercial interests) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption applies is explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

Transport Scotland cannot release any of the remaining information you have asked for, with respect to ScotRail's finances.

An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA (commercial interests) applies to some of the financial information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of Abellio. Disclosing this information would be likely to give Abellio's competitors an advantage in future similar tendering exercises, which would substantially prejudice Abellio's ability to submit competitive tenders and so could significantly harm their commercial business.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government, and to help account for the expenditure of public money. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies which tender for Scottish Government contracts, to ensure that we are always able to obtain the best value for public money.

In our judgement, therefore, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs that in disclosure of the information.

This is a formal notice under section 16(2) of FOISA that Transport Scotland cannot release the information you have requested.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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