Scotrail apol­ogy branded ‘a gim­mick’

The Scotsman - - Front Page - By SCOTT MAC­NAB

Rail pas­sen­gers are to be of­fered ex­tra com­pen­sa­tion by train op­er­a­tor Scotrail amid grow­ing anger over de­lays and can­cel­la­tions.

The move has been branded a “gim­mick” by crit­ics who have stepped up calls for trains to be taken into pub­lic hands in Scot­land.

The rail op­er­a­tor has been un­der fire over plung­ing per­for­mance lev­els.

Hard-pressed rail pas­sen­gers in Scot­land are to be of­fered ex­tra com­pen­sa­tion by train op­er­a­tor Scotrail amid grow­ing anger over de­lays and can­cel­la­tions.

But the move has been branded a “gim­mick” by crit­ics who have stepped up calls for trains to be taken into pub­lic hands in Scot­land.

The rail op­er­a­tor has been un­der fire over plung­ing per­for­mance lev­els around the coun­try fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of a new timetable in De­cem­ber.

Con­duc­tors and driv­ers be­ing trained on new trains and routes has been blamed as a ma­jor rea­son for the dis­rup­tion, with train­ing ex­pected to con­tinue into Fe­bru­ary.

Com­pen­sa­tion is al­ready avail­able to pas­sen­gers de­layed more than 30 min­utes un­der the De­lay Re­pay Guar­an­tee, with 50 per cent of the cost of a sin­gle ticket or 25 per cent of the cost of a re­turn paid back.

Ex­tra com­pen­sa­tion will now apply to sea­son ticket hold­ers who use routes that have been most af­fected by can­cel­la­tions.

Sea­son ticket hold­ers, ac­com­pa­nied by one ex­tra per­son, on routes most af­fected by train­crew shortages are be­ing of­fered travel any­where on Scotrail ser­vices for six spec­i­fied week­ends in March, April and May

Alex Hynes, Scotrail Al­liance man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, ad­mit­ted that the op­er­a­tor has fallen be­low the stan­dards ex­pected by cus­tomers.

“We are very sorry to our Scotrail cus­tomers for un­ac­cept­able ser­vice in parts of the coun­try re­cently,” he said.

Protesters gath­ered out­side Glas­gow Cen­tral Sta­tion yes­ter­day morn­ing to call for ac­tion to be taken against the rail op­er­a­tor.

Scot­tish Labour leader Richard Leonard at­tended the protest and backed calls from unions for the rail­way fran­chise to be re­moved from Dutch op­er­a­tor Abel­lio and re­turned to pub­lic own­er­ship.

His party crit­i­cised the com­pen­sa­tion as a “gim­mick” which is “just not good enough” and said a real com­pen­satory move would have been to back the call for a fare freeze.

Tory trans­port spokesman Jamie Greene said the of­fer would not ad­e­quately com­pen­sate pas­sen­gers for the “chaos” they ex­pe­ri­enced.

“What they want is real ac­tion taken to en­sure that they have an ef­fec­tive and re­li­able train ser­vice that they can rely on, not cheap of­fers to buy them off,” he said.

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman says it will lis­ten to bids from pub­lic sec­tor op­er­a­tors when the cur­rent con­tract ex­pires.

0 Scot­tish Labour leader Richard Leonard was among those at the protests out­side Glas­gow Cen­tral sta­tion yes­ter­day

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