ScotRail fined more than £2.2m in first six months of year

Failure to meet a series of targets has resulted in ScotRail being fined more than £2.2 million in the first half of the year.

A service quality report covering April to June showed the operator met 15 out of 38 targets but fell short in areas including toilets, train cleanliness and litter at stations.

The franchise is fined by Transport Scotland when it breaches performance measures.

More than £1,061,000 of fines were issued for the three-month period.

This followed more than £1,180,000 of penalties between January and March.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “Passengers across Scotland deserve better than this failing ScotRail franchise.

“The least they can expect for a four-figure season ticket is for trains to be clean but as these official figures show that is routinely not the case.

“These fines are not worth the paper they are written on, with privately-run ScotRail funded by the taxpayer through subsidies in the first place.

“It is passengers who are essentially paying both the fines and the price for their continued mismanagement of our railways.”

ScotRail said the money from penalties is reinvested into Scotland’s railways.

Pointing to a fall in fines from the first to the second quarter of 2018, David Lister, ScotRail Alliance sustainability and safety assurance director, said: “We know there is a lot of work still to be done but these figures confirm the progress ScotRail is making.

The investment we are making – in new and refurbished trains, in station facilities and in our people – is part of our plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “Action is already under way to address areas of concern outlined in the Squire (Service Quality Incentive Regime) report, resulting in some encouraging improvements and a reduction in penalties compared to last quarter.

“A hundred and forty extra staff are being recruited to address the staffing issues which lead to ticket offices being closed when they should be open and to improve the availability of on-train staff.

“An operational review has produced better working processes so that faults with equipment are dealt with more effectively.

“There is still clearly work to be done and we expect to see further progress from ScotRail in the coming months.”