ScotRail’s ‘Fit for Future’ survey asked Scots what their transport priorities are going into 2022, and now the train operator is announcing their new timetable for the year.
Originally, the timetable proposed journeys between Edinburgh and Perth would be via Dunfermline, increasing travel times significantly. However, now their service will go directly between the two cities.
David Simpson, ScotRail Operations Director, said: “We know our customers want more trains, so we are pleased to be able to add 150 more services to the timetable from May 2022, delivering a service that is safe, reliable, green, clean, and fit for the future.
“This timetable is the start of the process of recovering from the pandemic and as passenger numbers increase, we will keep the number of services under regular review.
“What is clear from the evidence we’ve made publicly available is that providing a good rail service does not on its own attract significant numbers to public transport. Train operators, government, and trade unions need to work together to encourage other policy levers to be used.
“We are grateful to everyone who took part in the consultation and shared their views. We welcome all feedback and where passenger demand justifies more trains, we’ll do our best to deliver.”
SNP representatives John Swinney, Pete Wishart and Jim Fairlie met with the company in an effort to persuade ScotRail into offering a direct service. Now they are welcoming the new plans.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said: “I am pleased that Scotrail have listened to the legitimate concerns raised by my constituents. It is absolutely vital for the continued economic development of Perth that it maintains strong rail links with Edinburgh.
“Moreover, I note that steps have been taken to provide a better southbound service for my constituents living in the Blair Atholl area. Whilst it appears that only one additional southbound journey has been added per day, they are better timed and will allow local residents to travel in to Perth for 9am. This is welcome news that will allow those living in Blair Atholl to consider applying for jobs in Perth that operate within standard working hours.
“It is vital that rail travel continues to be accessible to all my constituents, regardless of their location, and I will continue to monitor this issue in the months and years ahead.”
Mr Wishart added: “I welcome today’s announcement from Scotrail that they are improving services on their Perth-Edinburgh line.
“This is a massive turnaround from their original plan, which would have significantly increased journey times.
“Advancing Perth’s rail connectivity is a key factor in delivering on local and national green ambitions. Not only that but is necessary in ensuring that Perth remains an attractive place to live and work.
“I hope that Scotrail keeps up this momentum by continuing to look at new ways to improve their services to and from Perth.”
Jenny Gilruth MSP, Minister for Transport, said: “From May, there will be 150 more services operating than in December 2021. This new timetable will help us all recover from the impacts of the pandemic and provides us with a solid starting point to offer rail passengers a more reliable service which is fit for the future.”