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Critics say figures 'disappointing'

60% of Scottish trains running late, says survey

Neil Bibby
Neil Bibby: ‘considerable problem’ (photo by Terry Murden)

ScotRail trains are failing to meet punctuality targets at nearly 60% of stations, a new analysis has revealed.

It shows that 43 of 73 stations, including Edinburgh Waverley, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth and Inverness, missed the official measure in July. 

Trains are required to meet a public performance Measure (PPM) which is the percentage of services which arrive or terminate within five minutes of their arrival time.

A more precise measure – the percentage of services which arrive within 59 seconds of their arrival time – shows performance as low as 50.5% at Edinburgh Waverley, 52.4% at Glasgow Central, 60% at Glasgow Queen Street, and 61.7% at Dundee.

At some stations, including Ardrossan Harbour, the number of trains arriving on time was as low as 28%.

David Sidebottom, of passenger watchdog Transport Focus director, said: “Following ScotRail’s efforts to improve punctuality over the past year, it would be disappointing if these performance results were signalling some worsening.

“Transport Focus’s most recent National Rail Passenger Survey showed both an increase in overall passenger satisfaction for ScotRail to 90 per cent and also in punctuality after poor results last autumn.

“Punctuality is the most important factor which contributes to passengers’ satisfaction with their train service and it is imperative that both ScotRail and Network Rail maintain a relentless focus on performance.”

Scottish Labour says there has been improvement in ScotRail’s performance in recent months following an outcry from passengers, and the target set in a ‘performance improvement plan’ has been met.

However, with an overall moving annual average PPM of 90.7%, ScotRail was still short of the reported 90.8% contractual target in the four weeks to July 22.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson Neil Bibby MSP said: “Over the past year Scottish Labour has been campaigning for better rail services alongside passengers and railway workers.

“Railway workers should be thanked for their hard work and perseverance in what has been a difficult year for ScotRail. However, passengers will still want to see continued action to tackle delayed services.

“These latest figures show there is still a considerable problem. It is unacceptable that services at nearly 60 per cent of stations failed to hit the performance target last month.

“With the Edinburgh festivals set to cause a significant increase in passengers numbers in the central belt this month, and autumn fast approaching, it is vital that performance improves.

“Scottish Labour will continue to keep up the pressure on ScotRail and the SNP Government to meet the expectations and needs of Scotland’s passengers in the months ahead.”

ScotRail stressed the statistics only show below-target performance at 43 of its 359 stations – amounting to just 12% of its stations.

Borders railway
New Borders railway: part of new network

A ScotRail spokesman said: “Of the 60,000 services that we ran last month, 94% of them arrived on time.

“That’s up from 91.1% last year, and exceeds the 90.9% target in the performance improvement plan.

“We’re well ahead of operators in England and Wales, where the annual performance standard shows only 87.9% of trains arrive on time.

“We are building the best railway Scotland has ever had, and we are delivering record-equalling satisfaction scores of 90% at a time of huge investment to our network that will deliver faster trains, more seats and better services.”

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