Greens raise rail con­cerns

Con­cerned politi­cians fire off let­ter

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - War­ren Hardie

Stir­ling­shire Green politi­cians have writ­ten to the Trans­port Sec­re­tary to raise pub­lic con­cerns over rail ser­vices.

Mid-Scot­land and Fife MSP Mark Ruskell and Dun­blane and Bridge of Al­lan Coun­cil­lor Alas­dair Tollemache co-signed the let­ter, re­quest­ing an ur­gent meet­ing with Michael Math­e­son, who has been Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for Trans­port since June.

The let­ter comes after 130 fre­quent rail pas­sen­gers at­tended two pub­lic meet­ings on Mon­day in Dun­blane and Bridge of Al­lan.

Res­i­dents ex­pressed con­cern over the new timetable which is due to come into ef­fect on Sun­day.

“Wide­spread dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the cur­rent ser­vice was ev­i­dent at both meet­ings, with a num­ber of con­trib­u­tors ex­press­ing the need to take the ser­vice hours in ad­vance to en­sure they ar­rive at work on time,or col­lect their chil­dren from nurs­ery, as the ser­vice is so un­re­li­able”, the Greens’ let­ter reads.

The Greens also blasted rail oper­a­tors for not con­sult­ing the pub­lic prior to draft­ing up a new timetable and added: “As far as we can as­cer­tain, nei­ther Sco­trail nor Net­work Rail has con­ducted any pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion prior to the in­tro­duc­tion of the new timetable.”

The let­ter also claims that many of those who at­tended Mon­day’s meet­ings were not aware of any changes to the timetable and con­tin­ues: “Why have these im­por­tant changes been so poorly com­mu­ni­cated? Can you ad­vise why Sco­trail do not use their alert sys­tem to con­sult with the pub­lic, and ad­vise pas­sen­gers of timetable changes?”

Over­crowd­ing on ser­vices was also touched upon. The let­ter states: “You are aware of the se­ri­ous over­crowd­ing on ser­vices be­tween Ed­in­burgh and Dun­blane, an is­sue that has in­con­ve­nienced many of our con­stituents. Ex­pe­ri­ences of pas­sen­gers faint­ing on packed ser­vices were high­lighted at the meet­ing. The sit­u­a­tion has now been ex­ac­er­bated, as we un­der­stand staff have been re­moved from ser­vices for train­ing.”

Stir­ling MSP Bruce Craw­ford has also writ­ten his own let­ter to Sco­trail slam­ming the rail com­pany over pro­posed timetable changes.

He said: “Com­muters want a train ser­vice that is re­li­able, easy to use and fast. I’m afraid that on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions, this new timetable achieves the op­po­site.”

Stephen Kerr, MP for Stir­ling, also called the timetable changes “apalling” and said that com­muters should be com­pen­sated.

Mean­while Mid Scot­land and Fife Tory MSP Alexan­der Ste­wart, who also at­tended the pub­lic meet­ings, ques­tioned Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for Trans­port Michael Math­e­son on the timetable changes.

He said: “These changes will put my con­stituents at a se­vere dis­ad­van­tage who travel from Dun­blane to Ed­in­burgh and Dun­blane to Glas­gow with a loss of peak time trains. I asked how this could be jus­ti­fied for hard work­ing fam­i­lies and com­muters who will also have to en­dure a fare in­crease in Jan­uary which will mean that they will have to pay more to get less.”

Mr Math­e­son blamed the on­go­ing in­dus­trial ac­tion plus rolling stock and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is­sues for the prob­lems.

But Mr Ste­wart said: “These will only come to fruition in May 2019 and the timetable will be on­go­ing un­til De­cem­ber 2019. In the mean­time, my con­stituents will be forced to suf­fer fur­ther un­due and un­de­served hard­ship whilst pay­ing more than good money to Sco­tRail for its in­creased fares and shoddy ser­vice. This is patently not right and I will keep the pres­sure up on both the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and Sco­trailA­bel­lio un­til some­thing is re­solved for good.”

Packed meet­ing timetable Com­muters ex­pressed their anger over the new train

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.