Train passengers hit out as ScotRail timetable changes come into effect
Rail passengers have hit out as a temporary ScotRail timetable, which cuts about 700 services, came into effect across Scotland on Monday.
ScotRail and train drivers union Aslef remain deadlocked in talks over pay.
Drivers rejected a previous offer of a 2.2% rise and are refusing to work overtime or on rest days, which rail services have relied on in recent years.
The temporary timetable is causing disruption for passengers across the network, with services ending earlier in the evening.
The last train from Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Queen street will be at 10.15pm as opposed to the usual time of 11.45pm.
Between Glasgow and Ayr, a popular suburban route, the last train will now leave Central Station at 10.00pm rather than 12.15am.
Maurice Popplestone, who lives in Edinburgh, regularly travels to Musselburgh, East Lothian, with his wife. Last week, they had to resort to taking the bus after multiple ScotRail services were cancelled due to drivers refusing to work overtime.
Mr Popplestone said: “The train is convenient for us, the bus took so much longer.
“We were on the bus for about three quarters of an hour compared to seven minutes for that particular journey.
“Together, that’s the only journey we make together regularly.”
The pensioner said that both parties had to negotiate and get back around the table. He said: “This is going to be a UK wide issue.
“Public sector pay is dropping and inflation is kicking in big time.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Alicia and Robert Longstone, from Ontario in Canada, were on a week-long holiday to Scotland. They say they have not been impressed with the rail service.
Alicia said: “We have spent most of our holiday waiting on trains.
“We’ve tried using the app and website but it isn’t always the easiest to use. We’ve gone to the station to find out the train we wanted was cancelled so we’ve had to get the bus.
“This means our journey has been longer and we’ve spent more time travelling than sightseeing.
“Trains between two big cities should be a lot more regular.”
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth said the temporary timetable would provide passengers with more certainty and urged ScotRail and Aslef to get back round the table to come to an agreement.
Speaking to Good Morning Scotland on Monday, Aslef Scottish organiser Kevin Lindsay said he “can’t negotiate with himself” and that drivers were looking for a “sensible offer”.
Mr Lindsay said: “I’m desperate to get round the negotiating table but I can’t negotiate with myself.
“I need somebody from ScotRail or Transport Scotland to come along with the authority to make a deal so we can move forward because this is damaging Scotland’s economy, it’s damaging our cultural events, we really need some action on this to move this forward.
“I appreciate other sectors and other workers may not be on the same salaries or may not be making the same demands, but this isn’t a race to the bottom, my job is to protect the terms and conditions of train drivers, and train drivers are telling me quite clearly they are looking for a sensible settlement that we can actually move forward on to deliver for the passengers of Scotland.”
ScotRail service delivery director David Simpson said the union’s demands were “not sustainable”. He told Good Morning Scotland on Monday: “We need to sit down and talk against the background where everyone is clear there will need to be a compromise.”
“The demands of 10% to 11% are just not sustainable in the current economic climate with the railway.
“We need to find a way around that. We need to recognise the kind of demands the unions are making but also the need to demonstrate taxpayer value.”