Passenger misery as Abellio vow falls short
Craig McDonald Under-fire Abellio have failed to deliver a string of promises since taking over the running of ScotRail.
The franchise operators, part of the Dutch state rail firm NS, assumed control of Scotland’s railways in April 2015 and vowed to provide the best possible service for customers.
Abellio pledged better punctuality, reliability and rolling stock as well as vowing to offer fair prices and tackle platform queues.
But analysis of the five key areas today shows users face a service which in many cases is getting worse, not better.
A Sunday Mail poll of passengers in Glasgow and Stirling also revealed those who use ScotRail have lost faith in the operator fulfilling their promises. ScotRail vowed in 2016: “We need to deliver better punctuality.”
Beleaguered passengers and commuters were promised improvements in punctuality two years ago as the failing service came under the spotlight.
Yet ScotRail’s own performance f igures, which we revealed on November 25, show the worst punctuality levels since Abellio took over.
The rail operators stated two years ago that “around nine out of 10 trains run to time” but figures last month – the poorest in more than a decade – show per formance has plummeted and one in five services failed to arrive on time.
At the two worst-performing stations, Largs and Milngavie, 75 per cent of trains were late. ScotRail told us in November 2016 there was “no doubt that we need to deliver better reliability”.
More reliable services – meaning a crackdown on cancel lations – were promised. But off icial statistics on Thursday confirmed this area was also continuing to plummet.
The Off ice of Road and Rail f igures showed 3.2 per cent of trains last quarter were cancelled or significantly late, compared with 2.2 per cent the previous year.
The figures are the worst for this time of year since 2003.
ScotRail faced criticism in Parliament on Tuesday for cancelling services for staff training. Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the move was “unacceptable”. ScotRail said in 2016: “Our largest- ever Train Improvement Programme will deliver new and better trains, with more seats and customer benefits.”
Abellio pledged to invest millions in rolling stock to provide the most modern fleet of trains the country has ever had.
But the roll-out of the new 385 class trains has been plagued by problems and delays.
Passengers on one of the busiest lines, from Inverclyde to Glasgow, face yet another winter on draughty old trains, which have been running since the 70s.
ScotRail said in 2015: “We’ve installed an additional ticket booth at Glasgow Central to assist customers who arrive without tickets and need to buy them on arrival.”
Passengers have been complaining for three years over early-morning queues to get out of Scotland’s busiest station.
ScotRail said then they would work to