Scotrail trains 'nearly 500,000 seats short' in 2017

Written by Tom Freeman on 7 February 2018 in News

Scotrail service failures revealed by Humza Yousaf after questions from Greens

Scotrail train - credit aureolindn

Scotrail trains were running nearly half a million seats fewer than planned last year, it has emerged.

Due to shorter trains and cancellations, 469,059 seats were planned but not provided, from a total of 133,371,277 seats planned, Transport minister Humza Yousaf has said.

Yousaf was responding to written questions from Green MSP John Finnie, and he also revealed around 6,000 trains skipped stops to make up time last year.

"The Scottish Government does not hold a breakdown of the number of times that individual stations were skipped," he said.

"The member may be aware that ScotRail has recently appointed a railway industry expert to undertake an independent review of train service performance and propose steps for improvement, and aim to reduce the number of incidents of skip-stopping."

Finnie said the figures revealed the "huge scale of inconvenience" experienced by travellers using the Dutch-owned train service.

Stop skipping, he said, "can have serious consequences for people continually delayed on route to work, study or to medical appointments. It can also be extremely distressing for young passengers and people with disabilities who are often abandoned in locations without adequate facilities to meet their needs."

He added: “Another practice seen all too often of cutting down a six car train to three cars, due to a breakdown, resulted in nearly 500,000 missing seats last year. This results from lack of investment in rolling stock and causes severe issues with overcrowding, particularly on peak time services. I think most passengers appreciate that they be required to stand for part of their journey on busy, short services. But it is unacceptable for people to be shoehorned in to dangerously overcrowded carriages." 

The figures released by the minister also show 20 per cent of train toilets failed an inspection audit last year.

There is cross-party support for Scotrail to be returned to public ownership when the current contract is reviewed.

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