ScotRail fined less than last year – but still pays £370,000
SCOTLAND’S main train operator has paid less in fines for poor service for the third consecutive year – but the company is still failing to meet targets agreed under a seven-year-old scheme.
ScotRail was fined a total of £372,849 for the year to last month – down 16.5 per cent on the previous year.
Staff managed to meet targets in ten areas, including train cleanliness and heating/ventilation, but remained below par in seven others, such as train and station toilets, announcements and information screens on trains.
The results from the Service Quality Incentive Regime (Squire) come in the run-up to the competition for the next ScotRail franchise from 2014. It has been run by Aberdeen-based FirstGroup since 2004.
The regime, controlled by the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency, is one of the most stringent in the UK safeguarding passengers’ interests – apart from punctuality.
The figures show standards are still not being met for litter and timetables in stations, and the repair and cleanliness of seats on trains – which produced the lowest score, of 84 per cent satisfactory compared to a target of 90 per cent.
However, ScotRail has also passed muster for station ticket offices, shelters, seats, CCTV, information screens and staff and met targets on ticket collections – scoring 100 per cent compared to the 97 per cent target – and customer care on trains. ScotRail is fined for not meeting targets and paid bonuses for surpassing them, with net fines down by 60 per cent since 2009.
David Sidebottom, a director of official watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “This is good news for Scotland’s passengers who have responded to improving standards with higher levels of passenger satisfaction.
“It is important the rail industry in Scotland continues to build on this progress.”
Ken Sutherland, research officer for campaigners Railfuture Scotland, called for train times at each station to be highlighted, among the “dense mass of complex and detailed information” on timetable posters.
Infrastructure secretary Alex Neil said: “We want to see the trend of the substantial shift from road to rail which has resulted in more than 81 million passengers travelling on ScotRail services this year continue and better trains, stations and services will play a major part in that.
“Over the past 12 months, ScotRail has improved performance in a number of key areas and Transport Scotland will continue to highlight areas where further improvements are required to ensure that standards are high for rail passengers.”
ScotRail managing director Steve Montgomery said: “It is a tribute to staff efforts and initiatives put in place. There is still work to be done and our focus will continue.”
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