Scotland

ScotRail to halt rush-hour 'stop skipping'

Man standing at station Image copyright Thinkstock

ScotRail is to stop late running trains from skipping stops to improve punctuality during rush hour.

The company said the practice, which sees certain trains given the green light to miss out stops, was being curtailed due to "customer feedback".

Trains will now stop at all scheduled stops between the hours of 08:00-09:00 and 17:00-18:00.

ScotRail said that out of 59,000 trains that ran over a four-week period, stop skipping only affected 222 trains.

Consumer group Transport Focus said passengers had the right to expect the destination that appeared on their ticket was the one they would be taken to.

'Infrastructure issues'

Spokesman Robert Samson said: "What would make the problem better is that if the infrastructure in the system improved to such a level that stop skipping was not part of the solution.

"Just now, performance is hovering just below the 90% mark. We want to see that performance improve and that involves cutting down on signalling or other infrastructure issues."

The news comes after the ScotRail Alliance franchise, operated by Dutch firm Abellio, was severely criticised for delayed, cancelled and over-crowded services.

A ScotRail Alliance spokesman said the number of services affected by stop skipping was "miniscule".

He added: "In a tiny number of occasions each month we have to take action to recover the service after some kind of incident.

"Late trains have a knock-on effect on other services behind them, so taking action to get everything back on time is important. If we don't, then disruption affects more and more people.

"What we have decided to do is to make sure that we protect the services that carry the most number of people.

"These are the busy commuter routes that operate during the peak."

The spokesman said that action to correct late-running trains would now take place outwith peak hours.

He said that the chance of large scale disruption as a result was "minimal".

Scottish Labour's transport spokesman Neil Bibby said: "There is nothing more frustrating for passengers than paying over the odds for tickets on overcrowded trains that are often late running, only for the train to fly by their stop. Hundreds of trains have been missing stops and thousands of passengers have been affected.

"Passengers want to see improvements across the board and this pledge cannot be an excuse for failure if ScotRail does not hit its key performance targets again."

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