LESLEY Laird has called on the Scottish Transport Minister to use his power and intervene to reduce rail prices for Fife Circle passengers by “a minimum of 30 per cent”.

The letter to Michael Matheson MSP comes after ScotRail boss Alex Hynes told a packed audience in Kirkcaldy Town House last week that services would improve by December this year.

Rail users joining the service at Cardenden, Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath stations have found themselves faced with cancellations and delays as well as carriages heading for Edinburgh being very full with seats very limited.

Some of the cancellations have been as a result of signal faults which are a Network Rail responsibility and the Scottish Government would like this to come under their jurisdiction as it currently is a Westminster responsibility. Mr Matheson has also warned ScotRail at improvements are needed sooner rather than later.

But Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Ms Laird said: “Mr Hynes repeatedly apologised at the meeting for the state of Fife’s rail services and admitted they were among the worst in Scotland.

“However, the air was sucked out of the room when he revealed peak time trains won’t run with six carriages until Hitachi delivers new trains near the end of the year.

“Passengers are being packed like cattle into overcrowded carriages, having to pay late child care fees and in some extreme cases even losing their jobs thanks to delayed or cancelled trains.

“Commuters can’t stomach another year of paying full price for appalling service and I don’t blame them.”

Ms Laird, who organised the public meeting, has also set up a petition – the link can be found here https://www.change.org/p/scottish-transport-minister-michael-matheson-we-demand-cheaper-scotrail-fares-in-fife

In her letter to Michael Matheson, she wrote: “At the public meeting Alex Hynes was left in no doubt this is what Fife commuters expect.

“Complicated discount schemes are not going to cut it. Complicated claim back schemes are not going to cut it. The only thing that is going to cut it for Fifers is a fare cut.

“As the purse holder and final arbiter in this matter I believe it is your responsibility to address this issue.

“Given the truly appalling service on Fife lines this is the only option as Fife commuters continue to bear the brunt of poor ScotRail service through 2019.”