Posted 27th January 2021 | No Comments

ScotRail axes more services to match falling demand

SCOTRAIL will reduce the number of trains it runs from Monday.

It said continuing lockdown restrictions have meant that the number of passengers has been ‘severely reduced’, and that it is aiming to reduce the costs paid for the railway by taxpayers.

It is the second change to ScotRail timetables recently, because trains were shortened earlier this month. The operator said the number of people using its trains was down by almost 90 per cent compared to the same time last year. 

The number of services is now being reduced to 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, while providing 72 per cent of seats. ScotRail said it has consulted with NHS boards to ensure that shift patterns for key workers are catered for as far as possible.

Other pressures include the effect of the pandemic on ScotRail staff, because some are shielding or self-isolating and cannot come to work.

ScotRail said its timetables will be ‘constantly reviewed’, particularly if there is any change to passenger numbers, so that physical distancing can be maintained.

ScotRail operations director David Simpson said everyone at ScotRail is working ‘incredibly hard’. He continued: ‘We have constantly adapted our timetable throughout the pandemic to reflect restrictions at any given time, allowing those travelling to be able to rely on ScotRail, and these alterations will again ensure that we deliver that critical service. There will also be minimal change for those currently using our services, as we have matched changes with the current demand. 

‘Like any business during the pandemic, we need to continue to make sensible financial decisions, and reducing the number of services means a reduction in costs for the taxpayer, while continuing to deliver a safe and reliable rail service.’