AFTER weeks of poor service, overcrowded trains and station-skipping in the kingdom, ScotRail offered the ‘Fife Fiver’ as a way of an apology to disgruntled passengers.

But the offer has come in for sharp criticism from commuters and politicians.

Launched on April 16, the promotional offer lets passengers in Fife get to Edinburgh or Dundee for just £5 and will run until mid-June.

However, the ticket is only available at off-peak times and must be bought in advance online via ScotRail’s website.

MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Lesley Laird said it failed as a peace offering to the mainly peak-time commuters that have faced the brunt of bad services – highlighted since November by the Press Crush Hour campaign.

She said: “This offer – a bit like the trains – is not very accessible.

“In order to take advantage of it, you first need to sign up to a MyScotRail account and book your ticket in advance.

“In addition, ScotRail have confirmed that the normal two Kids Go Free for every paying adult fare is not applicable to the £5 ticket, as it is a promotional offer.

“So, not only does this offer apply only for a limited off-peak period, but rail users also can’t simply walk into a station and buy their ticket.

“This has not been clearly communicated and of course simply fails to address the fundamental issues on the Fife rail service.”

She added: “Constituents are fed up with poor service, overcrowded carriages and trains skipping stations.

“And when you add in paying two and three times more per rail mile than other parts of Scotland, this offer does nothing to address long-standing issues.”

ScotRail explained to the Press that online purchases of the ticket were to make sure only Fifers were benefitting from the offer because a postcode is required when you register and that it was also stated that a ticket was only available online.

They also insisted that the Fife Fiver fare was not a replacement for their Delay Repay scheme, which is their main way of compensating customers for delays and cancellations.

The fare is available Monday to Friday from 10am to 3.30pm and then 6.30pm until the end of service each day. It is also available all day at weekends.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “Our performance has improved in recent months – more of our trains are arriving on time, and we have significantly reduced stop-skipping.

“We know there is more to do. Next year we will also introduce an extra 5,000 seats per day for services in Fife, which will result in more comfortable journeys for our customers.

“In the meantime, we have introduced the Fife Fiver ticket to make it cheaper for customers travelling to Edinburgh and Dundee from Fife over the next few months.”