Jackie Baillie has said that passengers in Dumbarton, Balloch and Helensburgh are being let down by ScotRail and the Scottish Government after it was revealed that almost 6000 scheduled train services have been cancelled in the last two years.

The figures were revealed to the Dumbarton constituency MSP through a Freedom of Information request and equate to an average of 250 services being cancelled each month across the area.

Most of the cancellations (887) were classified as being down to ‘drivers’ while the second highest reason for cancellations (502) was points failures. In a response earlier this year to Jackie Baillie, ScotRail advised that they were facing difficulties filling driver vacancies within the area with the MSP asking them to embark on a recruitment campaign to boost numbers and improve the reliability of services.

Passengers have been impacted by strike action this year and are set to face more disruption with RMT members taking part in several dates of strike in the lead-up to Christmas and the early part of next year.

Jackie Baillie said: “My constituents across Dumbarton, Balloch and Helensburgh are completely fed up with the poor rail service they have endured over the years and this is a problem which has been going on long before the pandemic.

“I have written countless letters to ScotRail over a number of years because of the problems encountered on the lines passing through Dumbarton and Helensburgh.

“Long suffering passengers have endured station skipping, crammed carriages and short-notice cancellations and continue to be let down with almost 6000 cancellations in the last two years alone. I understand that some technical issues may be beyond the control of ScotRail but I asked them to look at taking action to recruit more drivers earlier this year and disappointingly I have seen no evidence of a robust recruitment campaign since.

“I understand that rail services have been impacted because of Covid and I understand that the workforce would have been depleted at this time but so too were the number of people travelling.

“There has now been a greater return to work and, in turn, to the railways and that needs to be matched with a reliable service from ScotRail and its owners the Scottish Government. The staff work very hard and deserve the government’s support.

“This is a sustainable form of transport which we must encourage people to use. West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh are well served with railway stations but there need to be trains running to those stations to make this work. Those trains need to be there when they are expected to be otherwise people won’t make use of them.

“We all want to see an improving service, affordable fares and a recruitment campaign to get people into jobs and get passengers moving.”

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