SCOTRAIL has been instructed to review Fife Circle services following demand for "much-needed improvements".

Annabelle Ewing, SNP MSP for the Cowdenbeath constituency, hopes that "lessons are learned from current performance" during the next phase of the operator's 'Fit for the Future' scheme.

Last month a freedom of information request submitted by Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser discovered that nearly 700 journeys on the Fife Circle had been cancelled since the nationalisation of ScotRail.

Ms Ewing said: "I have received a letter from Jenny Gilruth MSP advising me that she has instructed ScotRail to review Fife rail service provision in the next phase of the ‘Fit for the Future’ timetable exercise to ensure that lessons are learned from the current performance and the service level is appropriate for the needs of passengers.

"This is very good news indeed from the Transport Minister.

"I have been making the case for improvements to the Fife Circle service for a good while now, most recently just last week, so I am very pleased indeed that the Minister has listened to my entreaties – and those of rail passengers in Fife.

"Of course, I know that the Minister, as a frequent user of Fife rail services herself, will be acutely aware of the shortcomings of the current service, but I will certainly be taking her up on the offer of a meeting to discuss this development and I will continue to press all involved to ensure that much-needed improvements are delivered."

It comes as another Kingdom MSP, Claire Baker, asked for clarification over the pilot removal of peak rail fares after raising the matter at Holyrood.

Despite claims that Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport, had indicated a whole network trial would not be possible within budget, Ms Gilruth stated that the programme would apply to all ScotRail routes.

Ms Baker commented: "Passengers across Scotland were told the trial scrapping peak fares would apply across the network but the last couple of weeks the Scottish Government plans have become more confused.

"The Cabinet Secretary said a whole network trial wasn’t possible within the £15m investment provided, yet the Minister has stated the pilot will be in place across all Scotland routes. The Scottish Government needs to communicate its plans clearly to passengers including how it is financing this scheme and how it will work.

"A removal of peak rail fares across the network would have huge impacts in terms of improving the affordability of rail travel and should be just part of a number of changes to improve services throughout Mid Scotland and Fife."

The Labour politician has since written to the Scottish Government calling for further detail of the planned pilot and urging inclusion of Mid Scotland and Fife rail routes.