MP calls for an end to train ‘misery’

Lesley Laird MP has called on Humza Yousaf to stop ignoring the misery endured by Fife passengers after it emerged ScotRail clocked up a £3m fine for poor performance.
The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath contacted the Scottish Minster for Transport in January after receiving a flood of complaints from angry commuters left stranded at Fife stations.
Lesley said: “Humza Yousaf said recently he had every intention of seeing the Abellio contract through to 2025 but what I’d like to ask him this: how much grief does he expect passengers to endure until then?
“I wrote to him last month outlining complaints after the New Year trains fiasco and followed up with another letter last week. I haven’t yet received a reply.”
The 7.09am Dundee to Edinburgh train came under intense criticism over Christmas and New Year after regularly skipping the Kinghorn, Burntisland, Aberdour and Dalgety Bay stations.
Following a public backlash, that 7.09 train, while regularly running late, has stopped at all these scheduled stations over the past few weeks.
However, passengers now complain these stops are being skipped at off peak times – or other rush hour stops are affected, particularly Inverkeithing and Cardenden.
Lesley said: “Some residents who contacted me last month have continued to send me daily reports since that time.
“Their feedback and ScotRail’s shocking performance figures hardly fill me with confidence that the rail operator has or will be able to turn around its performance.
“Despite all the political pressure that’s been brought to bear on this issue, nothing has fundamentally changed and excuses are wearing thin.”
Lesley added: “Just this morning one resident said they took the 0949 from Dalgety Bay, which departed 11 minutes late.
“The train stopped before Inverkeithing to allow a train to pass and then after it left the station passengers were told by the guard the train was going straight to Waverley, leaving them all stuck with no mention of alternative transport to get them to their final destination.
“Incidents like these are, frankly, an insult to Fife passengers who, even if they didn’t have to put up with the misery of delayed and overcrowded carriages, already pay well over the odds for rail travel compared to neighbouring regions.”
“It hardly needs saying that this is an issue which can’t be ignored. If improving services means using a break clause in the Abellio contract in 2019, so be it. That option should always be on the table.
“It’s only by bringing the railways back into public ownership that rail services will get the investment they need and passengers will be able to depend on a reliable service, decent rolling stock and fair fares.”