Call for ScotRail chief to return to face Fife passengers

Calls have been made for ScotRail chief executive Alex Hynes to return to Kirkcaldy for another public meeting after it was revealed that Fifers will have to wait until at least June 2020 for new trains.

Alex Hynes was grilled by Fifers in February.
Alex Hynes was grilled by Fifers in February.

Mr Hynes stood before a packed-out audience at Kirkcaldy Town House in February and pledged ScotRail services would significantly improve by the end of this year at the very latest.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Lesley Laird, who hosted the meeting, has called on Mr Hynes to act “honourably” and return to Kirkcaldy for another public meeting.

Lesley said: “We were told carriage lengths and services on peak-time services would be back to normal by the end of this year and Mr Hynes also pledged to return to Kirkcaldy to update passengers on ScotRail’s progress before then.

“We now understand a delay on new Hitachi trains – which were needed to release other rolling stock into Fife – has been extended until June 2020 at the earliest.

“Meanwhile, passengers continue to suffer. Only this week they were impacted by a new autumn timetable which removed rush hour services. If that wasn’t bad enough, people trying to claim Delay Repay compensation for newly scheduled trains were told the trains didn’t exist. This would be laughable if it weren’t so shocking.

“The Scottish Parliament – who hailed the Abellio deal as ‘world-class’ in 2015 – seem unable to accept that they made a fundamental mistake and, to save face, they refuse to break this contract.

“Under a veil of excuses, it’s obvious they’re simply prepared to let this ScotRail saga trundle on knowing full well that passengers will pay the price for their failure to act.

“Given the circumstances, I’m asking Mr Hynes to do the honourable thing and return to Kirkcaldy – as he promised – to speak to passengers again at another public meeting before Christmas.

“It’s the very least my constituents deserve.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We have engaged extensively with stakeholders and customers in Fife, which includes two public meetings over the course of this year.

“We will continue to listen to our customers to hear from them first hand, and we will liaise with Lesley Laird’s office to make that happen.”

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