A WEST FIFE councillor has blasted ScotRail for its service in recent months.

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor David Barratt has demanded that the rail company meet local representatives to answer why things are getting worse on the Fife Circle line.

Back in November, the Press launched our Crush Hour campaign, calling for better rail services to and from Edinburgh for West Fife commuters.

Councillor Barratt told the Press: “Every councillor must have had countless complaints about this.

“I’ve only been a representative since May, so I may have not been aware before that there’s been problems, but it seems to me that things have been worse in recent months.

“I live right beside Inverkeithing station, so I can see when there are big crowds because of cancellations.

“Just this week alone, trains have skipped Aberdour and Dalgety Bay stations three times. One of my constituents has actually noted that while one of these trains was cancelled from those stations, they arrived early at Inverkeithing station.

“Now no wonder people are getting annoyed.”

In a letter to Alex Hynes, managing director of ScotRail, Cllr Barratt highlighted evidence suggesting cancellations were part of deliberate management technique used to meet punctuality targets, something denied by ScotRail.

“This is entirely unacceptable and in addition to regular overcrowding during peak times, undermines confidence in this service,” he wrote.

However, ScotRail have maintained repeatedly that missing out stations is never done to meet targets and if a train fails to stop at a scheduled station then it automatically fails its PPM (public performance measure).

Cllr Barratt continued: “I understand that station-skipping may be necessary as a means of recovery, the frequency of this happening seems to be excessive and it’s impacting commuters.

“My constituents are frequently getting dumped at Inverkeithing then have to fork out extra money for a taxi to get them home.

“This is why I have asked for a meeting with members of Fife Council, which has cross-party support, because it’s gone too far.

“I might be cynical, but I have feeling that I might have to ask ScotRail a few times before we get a meeting.”

A ScotRail Alliance spokesperson said: “Any train that misses a scheduled stop automatically fails its punctuality target. However, we completely understand that this doesn’t make it any less frustrating for our customers when it happens.

“We do everything we can to minimise services or stops being cancelled but it is a very rare occurrence and is only done to limit knock-on disruption to customers across the wider network.

“Missing out stations happens in less than half of one per cent of all scheduled stops in Fife, which highlights just how rare it is.

“Compensation is available for customers who are delayed by 30 minutes or more – simply keep hold of your ticket and claim on the ScotRail website.”