Fife’s politicians have been urged to join forces to help get “scunnered” rail commuters a fair deal.
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Labour MP Lesley Laird said all the region’s MPs and MSPs should use their collective representative voice to call for cheaper rail fares to and from the kingdom, as compensation for months of chaos on the Fife circle line.
The move comes after Transport Minister Michael Matheson rejected Ms Laird’s call for him to intervene and cut train prices for Fifers by at least 30%, despite a further raft of cancellations on Tuesday.
More than 1,100 people have signed an online petition launched last month amid fury from passengers after months of delayed, overcrowded and cancelled trains.
Mr Matheson acknowledged ScotRail’s services could be “extremely frustrating”, but said a fare cut would place a significant impact on the taxpayer.
He added: “It is more appropriate to consider the wider approach to fare setting, rather than changing fares on individual routes in isolation.
“I continue to press the senior team at ScotRail Alliance to ensure all possible options are being actively explored to provide additional capacity for peak time services on the Fife circle at the earliest opportunity.”
In response Ms Laird said Fife passengers were already subsidising the taxpayer by paying more per rail mile than other Scottish routes and that was unjustifiable when
She added: “This letter from the minister is, in effect, saying to Fife commuters suck it up and just carry on paying over the odds for an appalling service
“Commuters won’t be fobbed off with promises of improvements at some future point.
“We don’t have absolute assurance when that day will come so my message to Michael Matheson is this: you acknowledge Fife rail passengers are now absolutely scunnered so do something about it.
“Use your discretion and act. It’s in your power to compensate by reducing fares, not ScotRail’s.
“I’ll be writing to Mr Matheson and Alex Hynes, director of ScotRail, to request a joint meeting to understand what the remedial plan is for Fife.
I will also be writing to all MPs and MSPs in Fife asking them to back my petition, stand up for Fife’s commuters, and use their collective representative voice to get Fifers a fare cut, now.
“Over 1000 people have signed it so far and I would urge others to join them. We need to stand together, make our voices heard and get a fair deal for Fife.”
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She added: “I will be writing to all MPs and MSPs in Fife asking them to back my petition, stand up for Fife’s rail commuters and use their collective representative voice to get Fifers a fare cut, now.”