LESLEY LAIRD has called on ScotRail’s boss, Alex Hynes, to act “honourably” and return to Fife for another public meeting to explain how the bid to improve services is progressing.

The move comes after a Scottish Labour-led debate urging Holyrood to break Abellio’s franchise was voted down by the SNP and Scottish Conservatives on Wednesday.

Mr Hynes met a packed-out audience at Kirkcaldy Town House in February and pledged ScotRail services would significantly improve.

However, at a follow-up meeting held at Markinch at the end of the summer Mr Hynes reported that it would probably be next summer before real improvements on the Fife Circle occur when the new rolling stock on the Glasgow-Edinburgh line is fully implemented and more carriages become available.

MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Lesley said: “We were told carriage lengths and services on peak-time services would be back to normal by the end of this year and Mr Hynes also pledged to return to Kirkcaldy to update passengers on ScotRail’s progress before then.

“We now understand a delay on new Hitachi trains – which were needed to release other rolling stock into Fife – has been extended until June 2020 at the earliest.

“Meanwhile, passengers continue to suffer. Only this week they were impacted by a new autumn timetable which removed some rush hour services. If that wasn’t bad enough, people trying to claim Delay Repay compensation for newly scheduled trains were told the trains didn’t exist. This would be laughable if it weren’t so shocking".

Added the local MP: “The Scottish Parliament – who hailed the Abellio deal as ‘world-class’ in 2015 – seem unable to accept that they made a fundamental mistake and, to save face, they refuse to break this contract.

“Under a veil of excuses, it’s obvious they are simply prepared to let this ScotRail saga trundle on knowing full well that passengers will pay the price for their failure to act.

“Given the circumstances, I’m asking Mr Hynes to do the honourable thing and return to Kirkcaldy - as he promised – to speak to passengers again at another public meeting before Christmas.

“It’s the very least my constituents deserve.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We have engaged extensively with stakeholders and customers in Fife, which includes two public meetings over the course of this year.

“We will continue to listen to our customers to hear from them first hand, and we will liaise with Lesley Laird’s office to make that happen.”