Call for action as Fife commuters’ train woes continue

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Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird is calling on Scotland’s Transport Minister to stop ignoring the misery endured by Fife passengers after ScotRail clocked up a £3m fine for poor performance.

She contacted Hamza Yousaf last month after receiving a flood of complaints from angry commuters left stranded at Fife stations.

Ms Laird said: “Humza Yousaf said recently he had every intention of seeing the Abellio contract through to 2025 but I’d like to ask him how much grief he expects passengers to endure until then?

“I wrote to him last month outlining complaints after the New Year trains fiasco and followed up with another letter last week. I haven’t yet received a reply.”

The 7.09am Dundee to Edinburgh train came under intense criticism over the festive period after regularly skipping Kinghorn, Burntisland, Aberdour and Dalgety Bay stations.

She said that after a public backlash, that train, while regularly running late, had stopped at all the scheduled stations over the past few weeks.

“However, passengers now complain these stops are being skipped at off peak times – or other rush hour stops are affected, particularly Inverkeithing and Cardenden.

“Some residents who contacted me last month have continued to send me daily reports and their feedback and ScotRail’s shocking performance figures hardly fill me with confidence that the rail operator has or will be able to turn around its performance.”

One resident took the 0949 from Dalgety Bay one morning this week, which departed 11 minutes late.

“The train stopped before Inverkeithing to allow a train to pass and then after it left the station passengers were told by the guard the train was going straight to Waverley, leaving them all stuck with no mention of alternative transport to get them to their final destination.

“Incidents like these are, frankly, an insult to Fife passengers who, even if they didn’t have to put up with the misery of delayed and overcrowded carriages, already pay well over the odds for rail travel compared to neighbouring regions.

“Despite all the political pressure that’s been brought to bear, nothing has fundamentally changed and excuses are wearing thin.

“This is an issue which can’t be ignored. If improving services means using a break clause in the Abellio contract in 2019, so be it.”