Fife rail fare protests called off after leaflets get lost in the post

© PA

The RMT transport union cancelled Fife protests against rail fare hikes after leaflets did not arrive in time.

Protests were held in Edinburgh, Glasgow, North Berwick and Dunbar as rail commuters returned to work after the festive break.

But the RMT’s Fife and District branch secretary Jim Philp said demonstrations were not held as planned at Inverkeithing, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline stations because campaign leaflets did not arrive in the post.

“If there had been leaflets, we would have been there,” he said.

“They were allegedly sent to me the week before Christmas and I expected them in the twixmas period but unfortunately they did not arrive.”

Mr Philp said there were still plans to distribute the leaflets, once they turned up.

RMT renewed its call for the railways to be brought back into public ownership after ScotRail increased peak commuter fares by 3.6%.

ScotRail Alliance said fares were set by the Scottish Government and the average increase of 3.2% was below the UK average of 3.4%. Off-peak fares have increased by 2.6%.

But RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the privatisation of rail was contributing to a “cost of living crisis” in Scotland.

He said: “While Dutch state owned Scotrail’s revenues will increase as a result of the biggest fare increase in five years Scottish workers are getting paid less in real terms and rail travel is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many.

“This year is the 25th anniversary of the Tory legislation that privatised our railways and while a public sector bid for Scotland’s railways proposed by the Scottish Government is welcome we really need the 1993 Railways Act, which comes under the jurisdiction of the UK Government, to be scrapped to bring a permanent end to the damaging fragmentation and privatisation of our railways.”

ScotRail Alliance Engineering Director Angus Thom said: “Eighty-five per cent of our revenue comes from fares set by the Scottish Government, which decides how much our customers pay.

“We are investing millions of pounds in Scotland’s Railway to better connect our communities and support economic growth.

“Money from fares is reinvested to improve services, track and signals and customer experience as we continue to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“Our brand new electric trains are due to start running this year, and our high-speed trains, which will give customers more comfortable journeys, will connect Scotland’s seven cities.

“The work we are doing will mean faster journeys, more seats and better services for our customers.”