A FIFE MSP has slammed ScotRail after it recorded its “worst performance in more than 20 years”.

Alex Rowley said that while the rail service plummeted, the rising cost of using it for passengers in the Kingdom was “ridiculous”.

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP said punctuality figures for the first quarter of the year were the poorest since 2005-06 while reliability was at the “worst level since records began in 1997”.

And he called on transport secretary Michael Matheson to cancel the franchise agreement at the earliest opportunity and take ScotRail back into public hands.

Mr Rowley said: “Whilst the service to the public gets worse, the price for using the services continues to rise and the profits go abroad, being invested in improving the state-owned Dutch railways who have the ScotRail franchise.

"Meanwhile in Scotland, ScotRail’s punctuality is now at its worst level for 13 years, while reliability is now at its worst level since records began back in 1997.”

He added: “To be honest, rail users across Mid Scotland and Fife did not need the statistics to tell them about the poor services as they have experienced it first hand, week after week and month after month over this last year and that is why the continued rises in fares is so ridiculous.

“This is why I continue to call on the Scottish Government to use the upcoming break in the ScotRail franchise agreement to take Scotland’s railways back into public hands and get the profits and investment going into our rail services in the interest of passengers.”

Official statistics show punctuality and reliability of the trains have deteriorated since Dutch-owned operator Abellio took over in 2015.

ScotRail say nine out of ten trains met the industry performance target for the latest period and that its rail industry standard public performance measure – trains that arrive within five minutes of their scheduled time, having stopped at all scheduled stations – for the four-week period to September 15 was 91.6 percent.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We know performance needs to get better and we share the frustrations of our customers when things don’t go according to plan.

“The investment we are making in new and upgraded trains, and our recruitment drive to increase the number of people working on our frontline, will help us significantly in enhancing the day-to-day running of services.

“We are building the best railway Scotland has ever had and service performance is a huge part of this delivery. Everyone at ScotRail is working together to deliver these improvements.”