MSP calls for fares freeze on Fife rail route

A Fife MSP has called on the Scottish Government to introduce a fares freeze on the Fife Circle line until the service reaches an acceptable standard.

Alex Rowley also wants a review of the region’s services.

His call comes in a letter to Michael Mathieson, Cabinet Secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity.

The MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife isn’t the first politician to call for a fares freeze.

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In March, Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, demanded similar action while a national review took place.

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Mr Rowley wants action after he highlighted statements from Alex Hynes, MD of Scotrail, confirming that the level of investment needed to bring the rail network on the Fife Circle route was not in place – and it was unlikely that the additional carriages required to meet demand will come until the latter part of 2020.

The statements came when they met recently.

Mr Hynes told the MSP that there were no more diesel locomotives available, and addition locomotives and carriages would become available as new trains were introduced onto other routes. He said he could not predict when this would happen, but that it would be at least June 2020.

Mr Rowley said; “This is not an acceptable situation. Action must be taken to give Fife a minimum acceptable standard of rail service”.

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The MSP wants a halt to the rail fares increase for the Fife Circle route until services are at an acceptable standard.

He said; “Mr Hynes confirmed that it is planned to increase rail fares this January by 2.8 per cent.

“When I suggested this was outrageous and no increases should take place until the services are at an acceptable level he simply said this was a matter for the Scottish Government. Hence, I am now calling on them to introduce a fares freeze until such time as we are getting an acceptable service.

“I am also asking the Scottish Government to order a review of the Fife services and bring forward a clear plan setting out what needs to happen to bring the services up to an acceptable standard, what the costs are and how they are to be met and a timetable for doing so.”
He added: “Train users from Fife are getting a raw deal –enough is enough, we need assurances that the company and the government are addressing the issues.”