ScotRail fined £500k for failing to meet quality standards

ScotRail has been fined nearly £500,000 for failing to meet tough quality standards over the last three months.

Saturday, 29th October 2016, 9:51 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:55 am
ScotRail has been fined 2.2 million for failing to meet quality standards since last year. Picture: Press Association

The £483,000 penalty, which includes train and station cleanliness and faults, increased from £368,000 for April to July.

However, it was down from the £675,000 fine for the first three months of the year.

The Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency, which levies the fines, said the train operator was not getting worse and was tackling every area where it was failing minimum standards.

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The Service Quality Incentive Regime (Squire) does not cover train punctuality and cancellations, over which ScotRail has been ordered to make separate improvements.

Between July and September, Squire targets were not met in five out of 17 areas of station performance, and ten out of 17 quality categories for trains.

ScotRail scored 92.21 per cent overall - one percentage point below the benchmark level, where fines are applied.

Worst performing areas included the cleanliness and state of repair of train seats, often because of passengers putting their feet on them.

Broken train doors was another big problem area, along with hard-to-hear recorded announcements on board.

A series of remedial action plans have been ordered.

Transport Scotland said ScotRail was performing best at removing graffiti, keeping stations clean, and staff being on hand and helpful.

The fines are ring fenced for improvements beyond those already planned, which are expected to include providing toilets at the Tweedbank terminus of the Borders Railway.

Some of the £2.2 million total fines levied since the start of the franchise last year have been used for upgrading station shelters, overhauling toilets at Leuchars and new help points on the Inverness to Thurso/Wick line.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said the fines imposed “indicates further improvements can, and will, be made in terms of aspects of service delivery such as improvements in station shelters, train doors, train toilets and train announcements.

“As such Transport Scotland, have requested remedial action plans from ScotRail to focus on improving the performance in these areas.”

Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, which includes track body Network Rail, said: “We are determined to transform Scotland’s railway.

“We want to make the experience of travelling by train so much better. Squire is a vital part of that.

“These figures show that, even although we are delivering in lots of areas, we can never stop striving to improve even further.