SCOTRAIL have recorded the lowest rate of stop-skipping in nine years.

New figures have revealed that in the four weeks leading up to May 26, just 53 of nearly 58,000 schedules services missed stops, which equates to 0.1 per cent.

This is a reduction of 88 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The train operator came under fire from the Press’ Crush Hour campaign at the beginning of the year over the controversial practice.

ScotRail chiefs were left red-faced when they had to admit that that a virtually empty train skipped stations in West Fife – because they thought too many passengers might get on.

The 0709 Dundee to Edinburgh train missed stops frequently in Kinghorn, Burntisland, Aberdour and Dalgety Bay in the winter months.

Commuters trying to get to work in Edinburgh from both Aberdour and Dalgety Bay were forced to watch helplessly as their trains sped past them and through to Inverkeithing.

ScotRail insist skipping stations isn’t a decision they take lightly.

After pressure from the Press, they pledged to stop the practice, except as a last resort, and deliver a better service to the Fife Circle line.

Stop-skipping rates were first recorded in 2009.

Across the network, 91.5 per cent of ScotRail trains met the rail industry standard public performance measure. These services arrived within five minutes of their scheduled time, having stopped at all timetabled stations on the route.

This means that ScotRail remains the best-performing large rail operator in Britain.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Lesley Laird said: “This is a welcome development – but one in which people power deserves all the credit.

“Would we be seeing such a dramatic turnaround if we hadn’t taken ScotRail to task for the appalling frequency of stop-skipping earlier this year? I seriously doubt it.

“Look more closely at performance statistics now and a different picture emerges, one where trains stop at stations but often run late.

“While not ideal for commuters, it’s at least preferable to standing on a platform in the depths of winter and seeing your train whizz by, in some cases without a passenger on board.

“Nevertheless, availability of rolling stock across the network is an ongoing issue and we’re still witnessing unacceptable levels of overcrowding on carriages.

“In Fife, we also pay too much for the privilege, shelling out more hard-earned cash for our rail travel than commuters in other Scottish regions.

“A national rail service should have a national pricing structure – not a postcode lottery system – but the Transport Minister appears to have no appetite or political will to address this long-standing inequality.

“I still maintain Fifers will only see parity when Scotland’s rail service is brought into public ownership.”

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said: “We pledged to suspend skip-stopping, except as a last resort, and that is exactly what has happened. Customers are feeling the benefit of this improvement but we know that there is more to do to deliver the service they deserve.

“We are working hard to deliver on our performance improvement plan, as we build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”