WITH rail fares for Fife Circle users set to rise in January MSP Alex Rowley says that the quality of service just cannot remain as poor as it is.

Rail fares for people using Cardenden, Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath stations will increase by an average of 2.4% in January, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson MSP has told Fife MSP Alex Rowley.

In a letter to Mr Rowley, the SNP Transport boss said that: “Performance has been improving across Fife compared to last year.”

He continued: “We have have seen a substantial reduction in cancellations as a result of train crew shortages since April 2019, with planned seating capacity being maintained”.

Mr Matheson warned that a fares freeze would have a significant impact on the public purse stating that: “Two thirds of the cost of running the railway is already met through Scottish Government subsidy” and that “any change to rail fares could therefore have a significant impact on the taxpayer”.

Responding to the letter Alex Rowley said: “The amount of e mails I get from people who have had a bad experience when accessing the Fife Circle train line has not decreased.

"The fact is Scotrail/Abellio are not running enough stock on the Fife Circle services and will not commit to when this will be improved. They say not before June 2020, but still we are expected to pay more for this poor service”.

He added: “Given the tax payer is already paying for two-thirds of the cost of running the railway it is difficult to understand why this SNP Government will not do more to address the problem and sack Abellio who are clearly failing rail passengers.

“In truth thousands of people are being priced off the railways and this fares increase in January will just make that situation worse.

"The SNP Government in Edinburgh are in charge of our railways and should put Abellio on notice, they have failed and should not continue with the contract. The rail unions are campaigning to have the railways taken into public ownership with the funds available being put into improving services and this is the course of action we need”.