Council rails against raw deal for West Fife commuters
WEST Fife commuters are getting a raw deal from rail services, the Scottish Government will be told.
Fife Council want more capacity on trains into Edinburgh, less standing in carriages, a re-think on fares and better integration with buses and cars.
It also highlighted Scotrail's cancellation of a morning commuter service, which called at Aberdour and Dalgety Bay, as part of a poor deal on the rails.
The council has been asked to respond to Transport Scotland's 'Rail 2014 - Public Consultation Document' and insisted the track record must change.
In a report, Dr Bob McLellan, the head of transportation and environmental services, said, "Passengers expect a reliable service for a fair price and do not expect to stand for unreasonable periods.
"Whilst we accept that some standing is inevitable during peak periods the standing time must NOT be increased from the current limit of 10 minutes.
"The capacity of all peak train services from Fife into Edinburgh will need to be increased in light of the consultation document's assertion that passenger growth in the Edinburgh conurbation is expected to increase by between 90 per cent and 115 per cent by 2024-25."
Dr McLellan said information on train delays and subsequent cancellations had to improve, services and stations should all have wheelchair access and facilities for cyclists had to get better.
The council also believes that "rail fares must be made more attractive to encourage an increase ... from car to rail" and that peak and off-peak fares need to be "reconsidered".
Dr McLellan added, "Fares within Fife should be structured in a way which encourages travel away from Inverkeithing and the Bridgehead area (eg Markinch to Edinburgh fare should be same as Kirkcaldy and perhaps Inverkeithing too)."
The background to the report is that, in 2014, both the contract for passenger services and the financial arrangements for Network Rail are due for renewal.
It's given Scottish ministers the opportunity to consider how railway and services should develop to meet the needs of passengers.
In the council's proposed response, Dr McLellan said, "Scottish ministers need to consider the views of the majority of passengers and do their best to address them.
"The emphasis on reducing 'end to end' journey times for 'city to city' passengers will only benefit a minority of passengers and therefore greater effort should go into addressing the views of the majority of passengers, ie commuters into the major cities (eg from Fife into Edinburgh)."
He continued, "In this regard, an example of the problems associated with not giving sufficient priority to rail commuters into the major cities is the recent withdrawal of the 7:54 service from Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh."
Dr McLellan said the suggestion that East Coast trains from London to Aberdeen should terminate at Waverley, made as part of the discussions on high-speed rail, would mean passengers travelling to Fife and beyond having to change in Edinburgh.
He stated this was "inconsistent" with Scottish Government targets on reducing carbon emissions and boosting economic recovery.
And he added that integration between buses and trains at park and ride/choose sites - and especially their timetables - must continue.
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Jan 20, 15:52
Dr McLellan makes a good point - among many good points - about the fare structure, which is a hangover from the old British Rail days, where rail passengers from Fife had to pay more for the same distance travelled as was paid by travellers south of the bridge on other routes. This was intended to manage demand on trains using the bridge by essentially pricing some people off the trains. That could usefully be addressed now. In addition, off-peak fares into Edinburgh are now not so far above the equivalent fuel costs of those who commute by car. An imaginative look at ticket pricing that tipped the price balance in favour of rail could lead to many people shifting from road to rail - provided that the capacity was there, of course.
Yet while I can understand that the Council might wish to move passengers away from Inverkeithing for various reasons, if they are going to be successful in doing that, they need to understand why people use Inverkeithing in the first place. Many do so because every train going north of the bridge stops there and there is therefore a lot of flexibility and choice. That is not the case in Rosyth, Dunfermline Town etc or Dalgety Bay. That suggests that even a reduction in fares from those smaller stations might not have much of an impact on folk's travel choices. It also suggests that further investment in additional parking at some of these stations - but not all - might not be a prudent use of public money. The proposed 'park and choose' site at Rosyth is an interesting idea, for example, but would it really have much impact? Perhaps looking at further parking provision in the unused fields to the north of Inverkeithing station might be a more promising avenue to explore.
Recommend? Yes 11 No 4
Jan 20, 16:03
As a commuter who uses Scotrail from Rosyth to Edinburgh (I would take the bus but wouldn't get to work on time), I'd be over the moon if Scotrail got rid of the 'Hogwart's Express' train at 8.03 am and put a decent train on, with enough carriages (that all have lighting and heating) and that doesn't travel at about 0.2 mph. Is this likely to happen? I'll not be holding my breath in the near future.
Recommend? Yes 4 No 6
Jan 20, 16:35
About time someone sticks up for Fife commuters. Although I do not use trains to commute to work anymore, I always ended up getting this ancient brown monstrosity. The current current infrastructure is fundamentally flawed.
If I needed to get a train from Dunfermline to Dundee, I would have to travel to Inverkeithing first and then change. I used the train on Monday to get to Kirkcaldy and all 4 of the trains I had boarded where no where near half capacity. I can only imagine how much money is wasted annually with this king of management. surely at off peak hours during the weekdays it would make more sense to make the carriages smaller and this would help with the ticket prices.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 11
Jan 23, 23:31
DOnt be influenced by what the Doctor says, he has zero influence on what Scotrail offer and do. He does however have to keep justifying his existence and pay package. What about concentrating on simply doing your job Dr, like keeping the roads pothole free, undoing all that your departments have done in the last 10 years - such as removing all the unnecessary sgnage, road humps, traffic calming paint, flashing signs telling us what speed we are doing, smiley faces that light up when we travel at a speed lower than a glacier etc etc. MAybe you could start by reinstating sensible parking charges and give us back the on street spaces stolen by your departments to force us to use expensive revenue generating pay and display areas.
Recommend? Yes 10 No 1
Jan 26, 10:41
Please join this facebook campaign
The more we have join it , the bigger the voice we have to campaign about Scotrail and there high charges and there rubbish service
i.e Hogwart's Express' and the overcrowding that we all have to suffer.
Fairness For Fife Commuters
Recommend? Yes 1 No 1
Feb 5, 20:29
The first comment about why people use Inverkeithing is bang on. More trains =more choice in the event of cancellation, with such a gap between train times, once cancellation means you are late for work - most just dont take that risk.
Only in Scotland do you build a park and ride the other end of town from the train station?
Has anyone thought of an auxilliary train stop at the Park and Ride - hey - i reckon I could make the jump between the top of the park and ride and the railway line - theres already a lift to the top too!
Recommend? Yes 2 No 0