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‘Stop taking people in Inverness for granted’: Highland councillor warns Scottish Government over ScotRail cuts

Alasdair Christie
Alasdair Christie, Leader of the Opposition in the Highland Council. Pic: Sandy McCook.

Highland councillor Alasdair Christie has said the Scottish Government should “stop taking people in Inverness for granted” in response to ScotRail cuts.

The authority’s opposition leader Mr Christie has highlighted the devastating impact that cuts to train services have had on city residents.

The new timetable came into effect on Monday, May 23, after train drivers refused to work overtime leading to mass staff shortages.

It has resulted in a schedule that has left many lines across the rural Highlands without any evening services, vital for commuters to larger areas such as Inverness.

The last train from Inverness to Tain now leaves at 5.12pm, previously it would have left at 9.29pm.

The last train bound for Glasgow leaves Inverness at 5.26pm, while passengers travelling to Aberdeen will have to catch a 6.05pm train.

Services between Inverness and Wick/Thurso have been drastically reduced due to staff shortages in routes. Pic: Sandy McCook

Alasdair Christie, Liberal Democrat councillor for Inverness Ness-side said: “These cuts to ScotRail are having a massive impact on local residents in Inverness.

“Despite having two years to plan for this nationalisation, the promise of a stronger greener rail network is in tatters just 47 days after the SNP/Green Government took over.

“This is the single biggest cut to public transport for a generation and it’s going to cause local people in Inverness no end of problems.

“Passengers are losing almost 700 services a day, evening trains are evaporating and the SNP/Green government has put fares up 4% for the privilege.

‘They are taking people in Inverness for granted’

“Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see a public transport system that works for all communities, for all ages, and for the climate.

“Instead of savage cuts, we want to see railcard discounts made available to everyone, two or three-day season tickets to meet the needs of hybrid working and the opening up of new lines, particularly in areas where public transport links are poor.”

In response to the ScotRail travel chaos, transport minister Jenny Gilruth spoke to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

She said: “I have not forgotten that the buck stops with me.

“I am getting regular updates on the timetables and I am working to ensure appropriate carriage allocation because they’re running limited services, only around 70%.

“The other action I have taken is to ask to reintroduce a number of services, and more information on that will be forthcoming.”

To keep updated with the new temporary ScotRail timetable click here.

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