ACTION must be taken over ScotRail’s poor performance.

That’s the call from Claire Baker MSP, who slammed the rail operator for it’s consistent failure to get passengers to their destination on time.

Alarming figures have revealed that 110 peak-time services on the Fife Circle line were cancelled between April and September.

While 42 per cent of these cancellations occurred between Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy, 31 per cent of them took place between Edinburgh and Cardenden at the same time of day.

Back in November, the Press launched our Crush Hour campaign, highlighting the poor level of service being endured by West Fife commuters on the Fife Circle.

Ms Baker, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, said: “We have known for some time that Fife commuters are having to deal with delayed, cancelled or over-crowded trains and spiralling high ticket prices.

“For far too long, Fife has had to deal with a second-class rail service that is far below the standard we should expect.

“Yet despite repeated concerns raised by passengers, politicians and campaigns, we seem to be no closer to getting a rail service that we deserve.

“There has simply been far too many cancellations and late running trains over the past six months and action needs to be taken.”

ScotRail’s reliability across Scotland over the last quarter hit a record low earlier this month. It’s punctuality was the worst recorded since 2005.

According to the franchise agreement with the Scottish Government, the rail operator’s ‘Moving Annual Average’ for punctuality must be above 88.22 per cent or it risks breach of contract.

Despite this, evening peak times service on the Fife Circle line are falling below this target every month, yet the Scottish Government has agreed it will not enforce the train operator’s performance benchmarks until June next year.

Some of the worst services include the 17:02 Edinburgh to Dundee train that stops at Inverkeithing – its punctuality was just 55 per cent in June; while in July, the 17:55 from Edinburgh to Glenrothes, stopping at several stations in West Fife, had a punctuality result of 58 per cent. Similarly, the 18:25 from Edinburgh to Glenrothes was only punctual 63 per cent of the time.

Ms Baker called for the railway to be brought into public ownership.

She added: “It is no wonder that passengers are frustrated.

“As commuters rush home from work, many will have appointments to make or children to pick up from childcare. One single cancellation or late running train could be all that it takes for parents to incur late fees from their local nursery.

“Yet these shocking figures are unlikely to get any better. The SNP Government have simply given ScotRail a licence to fail by waiving their performance benchmarks. Instead of punishing ScotRail for breaching its contract, the Government are simply content to let them off the hook and let commuters continue to suffer.

“Fife deserves better.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “Ministers expect the ScotRail Alliance to work closely together to build on lessons learned going forward, including those set out in the Donavan Review.

“We should not lose sight of the transformational process under way on our railways including the infrastructure enhancements, as well as the introduction of new and fully refurbished rolling stock with the additional services that they will provide, which should help deliver an improvement in overall performance moving forward.

“We have already secured the right for a public sector operator to bid for a rail franchise in Scotland, which will enable a level playing field between the private and public sector in bidding for rail franchises.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We know performance needs to get better and we share the frustrations of our customers when things don’t go according to plan. The investment we are making in new and upgraded trains, and our recruitment drive to increase the number of people working on our frontline, will help us to significantly improve the service we provide to our customers.

“We are doing everything can to improve performance and will continue to work night and day to deliver the best possible service for our customers in Fife, and beyond.”