WEST FIFE politicians have backed the Press Crush Hour campaign.

If you're arriving at a West Fife train station in rush hour you're never quite sure what to expect, services maybe delayed or cancelled, you might be stuck on a train that's skipped your station and the chances are it will be overcrowded.

That's why the Press is standing up for West Fife commuters in fighting for a better service in our Crush Hour campaign. 

Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, spoke of her journey to Edinburgh last Monday (October 30), when she said the 6.35am service was delayed and skipped stations to make up time.

“Clearly scheduling is an issue, there are not enough carriages, and this does not make for a good customer experience,” she told the Press.

“Two carriages is not going to cut it at rush hour so what are the levels of ScotRail’s rolling stock? I think investment is needed and questions need to be asked about staffing levels.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Dunfermline MSP, added: “I frequently use the train to travel to parliament and can fully appreciate my fellow commuters’ frustration. I have raised peoples’ concerns directly with the Transport Minister and will continue to do so. I am encouraged by some of the recent action that the Scottish Government has taken to improve services. The performance improvement plan has led to improvements, with ScotRail consistently having outperformed rail services in the rest of the UK over the last 12 months.

“However, I know from my own experience that it’s difficult to see that improvement, particularly on cold winter mornings.”

Murdo Fraser MSP commented: “I frequently use the service and on too many occasions trains are jam-packed with barely any room to stand. If we are to encourage more people to ditch the car in favour of travelling by rail then it must represent an affordable and comfortable alternative.

“Since the ScotRail franchise moved to Abellio, their performance has not met expectations and the Scottish Government must push them to work harder to improve the rail experience for people across Fife.”

Claire Baker MSP said: “The service is not up to standard. Regularly, trains are cancelled, overcrowded and skipping stations. It’s expensive and Fifers are not getting a good enough experience. Skipping stations is particularly not acceptable especially on dark, cold nights.”

Annabelle Ewing, MSP for Cowdenbeath, has said that the Scottish Government has plans to bring forward a public sector bid to take over Scotland’s railways when Abellio’s contract ends.

She added: “I have called for an end to the practice whereby if a train is running more than five minutes late, ScotRail offloading passengers and running the trains forward, missing out stations, in order to make up time and keep their final destination arrival statistics in line with the Scottish Government guidelines. This is simply not acceptable.”