ScotRail take note: The people of Fife deserve better

We've heard a few reasons why train passengers have been let down so often lately.

Thursday, 11th January 2018, 10:51 am
Updated Thursday, 11th January 2018, 11:15 am

Signal faults, carriage faults, and so on. But what’s the real reason behind it all?

We’ve been told by ScotRail that the issue of station hopping in Fife often comes about when there aren’t enough carriages.

At the end of each day they have to ensure that the right number of carriages are in place at Perth, ready for use in the morning service through Fife.

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But apparently they “occasionally”, find problems with one or two of the carriages, meaning they just do without.

When there are only three carriages instead of five, ScotRail decides the train is full at Kirkcaldy and misses out the next four stops.

However, there’s also an issue that crops up when trains are running late. The stops are sacrificed to ensure that there isn’t a knock-on effect for services throughout the rest of the day.

The result, as we well know, is a large number of angry commuters who have already paid for tickets left standing on the platform as the train passes by, leaving them late for work.

So how can we avoid this?

Well, you’d think it was simple enough. Just make sure there are enough carriages starting in Perth the night before.

Apparently this will all sort itself out when new trains arrive in May, freeing up carriages currently used on the flagship Edinburgh to Glasgow line. But what about the months between now and May?

For a long time we’ve been consistently hearing about “investment in Scotland’s railways, punctual service, fewer delays” etc. But is this talk helping us as paying customers?

Most definitely not if you ask all those people left stood on the platform. The anger they feel is certainly understandable.

To face being let down regularly is one thing, but even if your train does arrive, you’ll be lucky to get a seat and could end up standing in an overly-cramped carriage for the next 45 minutes or more.

An annual season ticket can cost more than £2000, which is a lot of money to be left disappointed so often.

Over in Levenmouth, the campaign to return a rail link to the area continues to grow.

Were you to ask those campaigners if this is the type of service they would hope for, they may well say “it’s better than nothing, which we currently have”.

On one hand we may think ourselves lucky for having any service at all, but when you think about it; is ‘better than nothing’ really a strong indication of a modern and effective method of public transport?

Given that there’s almost no room to build in Edinburgh, the expansion of new housing in areas like Kirkcaldy, Kinghorn, Burntisland, and Aberdour shows no sign of stopping.

The popularity of the area means that public transport firms, in this case ScotRail, must take note and meet the demand of paying passengers, delivering a service that is fit for purpose.

No ifs, no buts. The people of Fife deserve better.