Colin Smyth MSP
South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth has raised concerns over plans to cut the opening hours at Lockerbie Station with new Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth.
Last week, the local MSP accused ScotRail bosses of using “misinformation” to justify plans to cut ticket office opening hours at Lockerbie railway station.
ScotRail recently carried a consultation over plans that would see changes in hours at 120 stations across Scotland including Lockerbie.
According to the ScotRail consultation document, Lockerbie Station would change from opening from 7.35-20.45 (Mon-Sat) to 7.00-20.20 (Mon-Sat). However, at present the office actually opens at 6.50 am- NOT 7.35 am as claimed by ScotRail.
During a statement on the future of ScotRail in the Parliament, the new Transport Minister said she was “in listening mode” Speaking in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday in response, Colin Smyth said: “It is a shame that the minister was not in listening mode last week, when she endorsed the biggest hike in rail fares in a decade and voted for 250 fewer train services a week.
“If she really is listening, will she scrap the current flawed consultation on ticket office cuts? We do not yet know what passenger numbers will return to.
“Furthermore, the information in the consultation document is incorrect. For example, it claims that Lockerbie station, which is in my region, will no longer open at 7.30 but will open at 7.00.
“Anyone who uses the station knows that it has opened at 6.50 for years. How can we trust a consultation on future opening hours when ScotRail does not even seem to know what the current opening hours are?”
Jenny Gilruth said in response: “I cannot retrospectively scrap the consultation, but I give the member my undertaking that I will look into the specifics of the issues that he has mentioned. Some of what he has highlighted in the chamber gives me some cause for concern, so I would be keen to understand a bit more about that.”
Speaking after the debate, Colin Smyth added: “It was good that the minister has said she will look into this specific issue at Lockerbie but this should not have happened in the first place.
“The flawed consultation itself has closed now but I will continue to ensure that this issue is not forgotten and fight to ensure that when the Minister makes the decision on opening hours, plans to cut hours at Lockerbie will be shelved.”