A £5 discount train ticket by way of an apology to fed-up Fife commuters launched today – and ran straight into criticism.
The offer was derided as “measly” by Lesley Laird, MP, while David Torrance MSP attacked ScotRail over the reduced time the ticket covers during the day.
The discount deal is for off-peak commuters only, and it has to be booked in advance online.
It was launched by Scotrail bosses after a barrage of criticism over cancellations and the policy of station skipping which impacted badly on commuters from towns such as Aberdour, Kinghorn and Burntisland.
Ms Laird said: “This offer – a bit like the trains – is not very accessible.
“In order to take advantage of it you first need to sign up to a MyScotRail account and book your ticket in advance.
“In addition, ScotRail have confirmed that the normal two Kids Go Free for every paying adult fare is not applicable to the £5 ticket, as it is a promotional offer.
“So, not only does this offer apply only for a limited off-peak period, but rail users also can’t simply walk into a station and buy their ticket.
“This has not been clearly communicated and of course simply fails to address the fundamental issues on the Fife rail service.”
Ms Laird said the issues surrounding the rail service in Fife need to be fully addressed.
She added: “Constituents are fed up with poor service, overcrowded carriages and trains skipping stations.
“And when you add in paying two and three times more per rail mile than other parts of Scotland, this offer does nothing to address long-standing issues.”
Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance pointed out that the offer is also only available after 10am, which is 45 minutes later than all other off-peak fares. The Fife for a Fiver ticket also stops at 3.30pm, over an hour earlier than the other off-peak deals.
Mr Torrance said: “Public transport has to be easily accessible, punctual, and affordable, and the people living in my constituency who have been affected by this should be able to get the £5 fare from stations rather than do it onine so it’s easier for them to take advantage of the offer.
“They should also make the fare available from 9.15am, when all the other off-peak fares become available.”