ScotRail's performance 'improves further'
ScotRail's service performance has improved further but is still short of a key target, according to new figures.
Public performance measure data showed 91.6% of the rail operator's trains arrived at stations within five minutes of their scheduled time in the four weeks to 4 February.
The figures were up by 1.9% on the previous four weeks, and 2.3% higher than the same period last year.
It was the fourth consecutive period of improvement.
However, the annual performance of 90.1% still remains below the 91.3% target set in Abellio's contract for the franchise.
ScotRail outperformed other parts of the UK, with the annual average for England and Wales remaining at 87.4%.
In November, a major improvement plan was published in response to widespread criticism of ScotRail's reliability since Abellio took over the contract in April 2015.
It aims to improve punctuality and reliability through measures such as infrastructure developments and "performance workshops" for managers and staff.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf described the new figures as "encouraging" but said the yearly target was "not quite where we would want it to be yet".
He added: "It is, however, encouraging to see four continued periods of improvement, especially during the winter period.
"Working with the industry, we remain focused on ensuring the performance improvement plan is implemented effectively and real improvements continue to be seen over the next few months."
Perry Ramsey, ScotRail Alliance operations director, said: "Right now, across Scotland, we are working round the clock to deliver improvements that will transform our railway.
"This is one of the biggest, most ambitious upgrades of the network since it was built in Victorian times.
"Today's figures show that, despite the huge challenge of this work, we are continually improving the service we deliver to our customers, every single day.
"This is demonstrated by the fact performance is up, not just on a month-to-month basis, but on the same period last year."