Dunfermline Press

Commuters ‘packed like sardines’ on train

- By Clare Buchanan Reporter cbuchanan@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

CALLS to halt regular overcrowdi­ng on Fife trains have been made after an MSP said passengers were “packed like sardines” on a journey from Inverkeith­ing.

Murdo Fraser MSP raised the issue during First Minister’s Question Time at Holyrood last Thursday after seeing some commuters left on the platform amid the morning rush hour.

He has called for changes after the peak time train travelling from Inverkeith­ing to Edinburgh only had two carriages when ScotRail had previously promised the problem of overcrowde­d Fife trains would be improved by May with the plan to “improve capacity” and reducing the use of shorter trains.

“Today, I boarded the 8.11am train at Inverkeith­ing rail station, bound for Edinburgh, but it was packed like sardines,” he said. “It was so overcrowde­d that several passengers were left waiting on the platform for the next train, which was due in another 20 minutes, meaning these people would be late for their work.

“You could see there were already many passengers having to stand when this train arrived at Inverkeith­ing - it was scandalous.

“At the meeting back in March with Jenny Gilruth, we were told that this ‘short train’ issue would be resolved by May, but it hasn’t been.

“It is all very well and commendabl­e for ScotRail to announce they will be reducing the price of peak time fares but there isn’t much point if passengers can’t board the train they need.

“In their response to my office about the debacle this morning, ScotRail have said that due to a train fault, there were fewer carriages available and the train operated with two carriages instead.

“They apologised to me and the other commuters and stated they plan for ‘the majority’ of rail services in Fife to be operated by at least four carriages, but this should have happened by now.

“I raised this with the first minister during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood today, and he has promised that the cabinet secretary for transport, infrastruc­ture and connectivi­ty of Scotland, will look into this issue and write to me with her findings, and also said a meeting will be arranged between MSPs who represents Fife and the cabinet secretary, which I welcome.”

Responding to the concerns, First Minister Humza Yousaf pledged to investigat­e the issue.

He said: “We have invested significan­tly in the rail stock in Scotland in the time that we have been in office and I know the previous transport minister held a meeting with MSPs in relation to the issue that Murdo Fraser mentions earlier in the year..

“I am more than happy for the cabinet secretary to write to Murdo Fraser and for representa­tives to meet with Fife MSPs so we can ensure the people of Fife get the service that they absolutely need and require.”

Scotrail say the issue on the Thursday morning happened because of a fault on one of its Class 158 trains.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail customer operations director, said: “We know that one of the biggest concerns for our customers is busy trains, and we are sorry to any customer who experience­d disruption and overcrowdi­ng on their journey [ that] morning.

“We’re working hard to deliver the level of service our customers expect.”

 ?? ?? Calls have been made for action to stop overcrowdi­ng on Fife trains.
Calls have been made for action to stop overcrowdi­ng on Fife trains.
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