Colin Smyth MSP
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has demanded clarity from the Scottish Government on which south Scotland rail routes will benefit from the removal of peak time rail fares – and which will not.
Although Lockerbie is a ScotRail owned station, the company don’t run trains from the station. The only services are those provided Avanti Westcoast and Transpennine Express through the two cross border franchises regulated by the UK Government.
This means Lockerbie passengers will miss out unless the Government extend the scheme to beyond ScotRail trains.
Speaking during topical questions in the Scottish Parliament last week, the local MSP said: “During budget consideration, the Deputy First Minister said that a ‘six-month pilot … will remove peak-time rail fares’.
“It turns out that that will affect only some peak rail fares. Can the minister tell us from which rail routes in South Scotland peak fares will be removed, because it is clear that it will not be all of them?”
However, Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth answered by saying: “My understanding is that that will apply to all routes. Details will be forthcoming. I await further advice from my officials in Transport Scotland on how the scheme will operate.”
Speaking after the session, Colin Smyth added: “It is clear from her answer that the minister does not know what will happen at Lockerbie station, despite the initial announcement only covering ScotRail trains.
“I hope the Government listens to my calls to extend the scheme beyond ScotRail but the lack of clarity from the Scottish Government is appalling. I will continue to push them to ensure that Lockerbie is not forgotten.
“Passengers are already dealing with near constant delays and short term cancellations, and from the spring, due to fares in England going up, costs will go through the roof.”