Comment: Scotrail deal that failed to hit the mark

Fife Free Press editorial comment
Fife Free Press editorial comment

There may very well be some executives within Scotrail wondering what on earth they have done to deserve such negativity for their Fife Fiver ticket deal.

They may even feel miffed at the criticism.

After all, a fiver to get to Edinburgh or Dundee is a decent offer.

But, as with so many ideas, the small print quickly drains the anticipation.

Doing nothing for rush hour commuters was mistake number one.

They pay heavily for season tickets and have endured the very worst of Scotrail’s service inadequacies over many months.

Mistake number two: Being seen to be mean.

The offer is for off-peak travel, with a later than normal start and slightly earlier cut-off point.

Why nitpick to such a Scrooge-like extent? It reflects poorly on Scotrail’s senior management that no-one picked this up and made the deal simpler, and – mistake number three – easier to take up.

Restricting bookings to online only, rather than encouraging people to take advantage of the deal at stations, felt like it was being grudgingly offered. In fact, it was meant as an apology for poor service, overcrowded trains, cancellations, and that infuriating habit of station skipping which impacted so badly on commuters in Aberdour, Kinghorn and Burntisland in particular.

Scotrail has come up with a measly offer which has then been placed in an administrative straight jacket.

Someone at executive level within the organisation should have spotted these pitfalls long before this was signed off and ensured the actions of the business matched its positive words.

“We are building the best railway Scotland has ever had – and Fife is absolutely central to that,” it said.

It will take more than a clunky, poorly thought out discount fiver deal to convince many Fifers those words aren’t hollow.