£5 train ticket is Scotrail’s apology for poor Fife service

Pic Lisa Ferguson
Pic Lisa Ferguson

Rail bosses are set to launch a £5 travel ticket to say sorry to Fifers for their poor performance – but it won’t help rush hour commuters.

The two-month gesture is Scotrail’s way of acknowledging their performance on the Kingdom’s busy routes has been poor.

They have come under sustained fire for overcrowded trains, delays and the infuriating policy of station skipping where trains are instructed, mid-journey, not to stop at key stations such as Aberdour, Kinghorn and Burntisland, leaving passengers inconvenienced.

The ‘‘Fife for a Fiver’’ scheme was announced during a Facebook Live session hosted by Claire Baker MSP who has been one of the critics of Scotrail’s performance in recent months.

The discount scheme will run from April 16 to June 15, but it will only be available off-peak, meaning it is of no use to rush hour commuters who have faced the worst of the problems.

The £5 return fare will operate on trains to Edinburgh and Dundee.

Angus Thom, ScotRail’s chief operating officer, admitted the rail company had to do better.

He said: “We need to fix Fife and give a better and more reliable service. If we could fix them right now, trust us, we would.”

He said commuters would enjoy the benefits of improvements on the rail network in 2019, and the new discount travel initiative was a way of acknowledging recent problems.

He said there may also be more carriages to tackle the persistent complaints of overcrowding.

“There will be no improvement for Fife in the next timetable change in May,” he added. ‘‘We won’t have the rolling stock we would like to make a big difference in Fife but that’s not to say there’s nothing we can do now.”

Mrs Baker welcomed Scotrail’s £5 travel and commitments to deliver a better service, but said they were still too long in coming.

“They’re reducing the number of stations they skip now and are starting to make progress on that but we won’t see a difference in capacity until next year,” she said.

“I welcome the acknowledgement the Fife circle hasn’t been good enough and that people deserve a better service but I think we’re having to wait too long for it.

“Next year is a long time to wait for improvements Scotrail recognise are needed.”