ScotRail punctuality up for fifth time in six months

ScotRail passengers have seen punctuality improve for the fifth time in the last six months, new figures showed today.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 5:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 5:50 pm
ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said it was working flat out to improve the service

A total of 89.9 per cent of trains arrived within five minutes of schedule last month, up 1.5 points from March.

However, the operator's average punctuality over the last year dipped to its lowest for around 13 years because of poor performance last summer.

This "moving annual average" - the figure on which ScotRail is officially measured - went down by 0.2 points to 87.4 per cent.

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Performance was also more than 2 points lower than the same period last year, of 92 per cent.

Major incidents included a train fault at Edinburgh Park on 6 April, points failures at Newbridge, just to the west, on 10 and 20 April and an axle counter failure at Bishopton on the Glasgow-Gourock line on 26 April.

A driver shortage caused cancellations in Edinburgh on 13 April.

However, ScotRail now seems to have largely stopped having to cancel services while staff are trained on new trains, with none today.

ScotRail said there were significant punctuality improvements in the west of Scotland last month, with the "suburban west" area around Glasgow, including the Helensburgh to Edinburgh line, seeing the best punctuality for 18 months.

It said there had also been better timekeeping at Motherwell, Oban, Garscadden in Glasgow and Dalmuir, near Clydebank.

The firm also said it had recorded its best day's punctuality last month since September, of 94.4 per cent.

Scottish Conservatives transport spokesman Jamie Greene said: “Whilst this short term improvement in punctuality is a step in the right direction, what really matters to folk is that ScotRail is able maintain consistent punctuality across all of the network, all of the time.

“Although April did show better reliability on our railways, it is also important to remember ScotRail is yet to meet its statutory 92.5 per cent punctuality target and is not projected to do so until 2021, if at all.

“The responsibility now lies with the SNP Government to ensure Scotland’s railway meets passengers’ needs.

"I expect the First Minister to deliver on her promise that this is ‘last chance saloon’ for ScotRail."

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “These are the worst performance figures since the franchise began with the moving performance average at just 87.2 per cent, meaning ScotRail are once again in breach of their legal franchise agreement.

"Passengers are continuing to pay the price for the SNP’s failure to run our railways properly.

"Every day, hard-pressed commuters are being hit by rip-off rail fares in return for delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

"Scottish Labour say it’s time to bring this chaos to an end and take our railways into public hands so passengers have a service they can rely on.”

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said: “Improving the service for our customers is what everyone across the alliance is working flat out to deliver.

"It is particularly good news we have delivered the best punctuality for our customers since September last year.

“We know we still need to improve, but I am confident the investment we are making will help us to give our customers the service they expect and deserve.”