ScotRail has come under fire after a morning service along the commuter line was cancelled twice this week, marking the fourth time since the start of the month.
The 7.57am service between Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh was cancelled for a number of stations on Monday, Tuesday and last Wednesday, leaving many people late for work or appointments.
While an annual commuters season ticket costs around £2220, this is no guarantee of a seat as often only a few carriages are put on for busy commuter services.
Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance says that he has received a number of complaints about the service between Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh, with this month being seen by many as particularly poor.
He said: “I am extremely concerned at the recent level of disruption commuters in Fife have experienced over the past month.
“I use the train to travel to parliament and have been personally affected by the late running, and often cancelled, services to Edinburgh – I appreciate the frustration felt by many travellers.
“I have written to The Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf raising this issue and asking that an investigation is carried out and asking for his thoughts regarding how these problems can be swiftly rectified.”
ScotRail says it is working towards rolling out new trains in Scotland in May next year, which would free up the existing fleet to meet demand.
The firm added that it is gradually phasing out the text alert service in favour of app push notifications.
A ScotRail Alliance spokesman said: “We are doing everything we can to build the best railway Scotland has ever had – and that applies to all of Scotland.
“Our new trains will usher in a new level of customer service on Scotland’s railway, transforming rail travel in Scotland by providing more seats and a much improved on-board environment.
“The introduction of these trains will allow us to make best use of our existing fleet and make positive timetable changes.
“We understand customers’ frustration when services are cancelled, and we do everything we can to prevent this.
“Compensation is available for customers who are delayed by 30 minutes or more – simply keep hold of your ticket, and claim on the ScotRail website.”
ScotRail was also keen to point out that in some cases a service ran from Kirkcaldy, but opted to miss out stations like Kinghorn, Burntisland, Aberdour, and Dalgety Bay, before stopping at Inverkeithing. A spokesman said this was due to a lack of available carriages, so it had three instead of five.
While new HST trains are scheduled to run as intercity services after May, the 385 class trains will mainly operate between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
OPINION: Action, not words, are needed to improve rail services
All commuters in Kirkcaldy want for Christmas is a train service that runs on time.
A seat would be nice, particularly when you are paying around £2000 for a season ticket, but such luxuries cannot be taken for granted these days.
The impact of the 7:57am service being cancelled far too often is considerable.
People are late for work, appointments have to be re-jigged, and everyone faces a stressful, frustrating start to their day.
That simply isn’t good enough.
Many people travel from Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh every morning.
They rely on ScotRail delivering its part of the deal by providing sufficient carriages, and ensuring the key services run as scheduled.
Recently, the company has let them down.
It claims it is “building the best railway Scotland has ever had – and that applies to all of Scotland.”
That’s a neat, and very slick PR line, but it does nothing to recognise – or acknowledge – the issues and even less to actually address them.
Ditto the pledge of “a new level of customer service on Scotland’s railway ... and a much improved on-board environment.”
Jam tomorrow. Delays and cancellations today.
Soothing words won’t wipe out the impact cancelling a key rush-hour service inflicts.
Neither does the latest way of keeping trains on time by suddenly skipping stations – ask anyone who boarded a train only to find once underway it is longer stopping at Kinghorn, Burntisland or Aberdour.
ScotRail simply has to do better.
Rail passenger numbers have risen as more and more people commute from Kirkcaldy to work.
ScotRail’s task is to make saure it supplies enough carriages, and delivers people on time, particularly at rush hour. Do it.