COMPLAINTS OVER TRAIN cancellations through Moray has prompted a high level meeting between Abellio ScotRail and Moray’s MSP.
Concerns have been raised by regular rail passengers on that their morning rail link to Inverness from Elgin and Forres is being cancelled on a regular basis without explanation.
That prompted several to get in touch with Richard Lochhead MSP – who has now pledged to find out the reason behind the cancellations as well as raising concerns over the new Club 50 deal being offered by the rail operator.
Passengers say that the 07.24 morning train was cancelled on three mornings in August alone – while there have been several last-minute withdrawals of the service since. The Moray MSP’s mailbag has also contained complaints from prospective rail users who cannot use the new discounted Club 50 scheme – because they are unable to register or book tickets online.
“I was concerned to hear from a number of constituents that the 07.24 service has been cancelled on numerous occasions,” Mr Lochhead said, adding: “This has caused real disruption to those who rely on the service for their daily commute.
“I wrote to the ScotRail Abellio managing director, Phil Verster, seeking an explanation for these cancellations and asking that we meet to discuss this and other rail issues affecting passengers in Moray.
“When we meet I will be pressing him to take steps to ensure that the situation improves and that the 07.24 service returns to being a reliable one for passengers travelling west from Elgin and Forres.”
The MSP added that he would also bring up the difficulties constituents face in registering for the new Club 50 offer, which offers 20% discounts on rail travel – but only when tickets are booked online and after users have initially gone through a registration process that is also only available to those with internet access.
Mr Lochhead said: “Another issue which has been raised with me is the inability to take up the Club 50 offer unless you register online. Clearly, this is a concern as not all constituents interested in benefitting have access to the internet and it is a concern that they are currently being disadvantaged.
“Ahead of meeting with Mr Verster I would be keen to hear from Moray rail users about their experiences so that I can make him aware of views held by local customers.”
Club 50 was launched earlier this year with the scheme free for the first 12 months, offering early adopters a return ticket to anywhere in Scotland for £10. The ongoing advantages of the scheme includes 20% off travel booked online – but just 10% when booked through a ScotRail ticket office.