Published date : 11 Dec 2018
FIFE SNP MSPs David Torrance, Jenny Gilruth, Annabelle Ewing and Shirley-Anne Somerville have called for urgent action to be taken to address the service disruptions affecting Fife passengers.
Since 10th October ScotRail staff who are RMT members had been taking part industrial action – resulting in an indefinite ban on overtime and rest day working. A resolution to this dispute has now been reached between both parties.
60% of delays and cancellations on Scotland’s rail system are attributable to Network Rail and not to the train operator. Network Rail is responsible for railway infrastructure and is not devolved. It answers to the UK Government only, despite transport (including the rail franchise) being devolved.
The MSPs recognise that ScotRails recent performance has fallen below expected standards with its services through Fife, but assert that a change of franchisee will not address problems attributable to Network Rail. The Scottish Government wants Network Rail to be devolved urgently. This would allow key functions such as timetabling and improvements to be undertaken as part of a cohesive Scotland wide approach to transport.
The Scottish Government has sought and won the right for a public sector body to bid for a rail franchise and is committed to promoting a public sector franchise bid at the next opportunity.
Jenny Gilruth MSP stated;
“In March this year Markinch train station was reported as one of the worst performing in Scotland, with only 66.7% of trains stopping in arriving within 5 minutes of their scheduled time. In September it was reported that the 4.34pm Edinburgh to Perth service, which also calls in Markinch, was the most overcrowded train in the country.
“It is patently clear from the evidence, and from the repeated complaints I have received from constituents in the past few months, that Scotrail is not delivering a quality service for my constituents.
Added to this, Fifers also pay on average £5 more per mile for every journey to the capital compared to those travelling from Glasgow. Fife needs a reliable and affordable rail service – it’s high time Scotrail stepped up to the mark’.”
David Torrance MSP commented;
“ScotRail must provide a reliable service for customers who want to use the train to get to work. My constituents who pay for and rely on these services are being let down far too often, irrespective of the cause. ScotRail published a performance improvement plan in the spring following concerns being expressed last winter about service levels. My perception is that passengers are not currently seeing any benefit from it.
“I have submitted a freedom of information request to Transport Scotland seeking data on how many train cancellations and stop skipping incidents have affected stations in my constituency during November.
“Unreliable services caused many problems for local passengers this time last year, resulting in hardship during the busy festive period. I expect better this year. So do my constituents.”
Commenting, Dunfermline and West Fife MSP, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:
“As a regular rail user, I’m more than aware of how frustrating the recent disruptions on the Fife Circle have been.
“I’m pleased that ScotRail has now resolved its dispute with RMT about overtime and rest day work. However, this is only a start. We need to see concrete action to ensure service improvements on the Fife Circle in the long term.
“I’m looking forward to the introduction of new rolling stock due on the Fife Circle in 2019, which is due to increase seating capacity. I’ll be keeping ScotRail’s feet to the fire, pressing for it’s introduction at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Annabelle Ewing MSP stated;
Far too often, my constituents face train delays, cancellations and overcrowding, and some even have to put up with the total farce of not knowing if their train will actually stop at the station they have a ticket for.
“The Fife Circle also seems to get the oldest rolling stock around so even when a delayed train finally arrives, the quality of travel experienced by Fifers is lower than in other parts of the country.
“This is unacceptable. Scotrail needs to do much more to ensure that they get the Fife Circle back on track.”
Local Reporters, East Fife Mail, Glenrothes Gazette, St Andrews Citizen, Courier (Fife), TRANSPORT