The Which? report (17 February), that 44 per cent of Scotland’s rail travellers despair at the travel conditions foisted on us doesn’t surprise us regular long-distance travellers with First ScotRail.
Suburban trains never designed for long-distance travel and a fares system whose byzantine working defies logic represent a daily indigestible Scottish travel diet and combine to create unhappy passengers indeed.
In the decade it has held the franchise, First ScotRail hasn’t moved a millimetre in rationalising the fares structure that hits us all so hard in the travel pocket. (Well, last year it improved split ticketing, a move which assisted precisely 0.3 per cent of us passengers).
It remains what it is – a monopoly market operated by First ScotRail.
The fact remains that we in Scotland don’t operate real trains, and we tie ourselves into a Stone Age system of fares. Why is it that East Coast services (“real” trains) between Aberdeen and Edinburgh are always cheaper than those of First ScotRail and the toy trains it operates?
The level of aspiration of what should be Scotland’s national rail system is highlighted by the First ScotRail spokesman who refers to his company as a mere “regional train operator”.