We rail-ly don’t know about Borders Railway compensation

The Borders Railway has been hit by delays and cancellations since it opened in 2015, frustrating commuters.
The Borders Railway has been hit by delays and cancellations since it opened in 2015, frustrating commuters.

The Scottish Government has admitted it does not know how many people have been effected by delays and cancellations on the Borders Railway.

In response to a Parliamentary Question asking how many people have claimed compensation for the delays they’ve experienced on the Borders Railway, the Transport Secretary conceded that the Scottish Government “does not have” that information

Michelle Ballantyne (Con), List MSP for South Scotland, claimed that the lack of information on the number of Midlothian commuters affected is an indication that the Scottish Government is not on top of the problem. She said: “Despite several months of complaints, delays and cancellations, the SNP still have no idea how many people have been affected, or how many people have claimed compensation.

“This further goes to show the SNP’s bark is worse than its bite. Despite talking a big game about holding ScotRail to account for its failures on the Borders Railway, we have clear evidence that they are not on top of the issue.

“Meanwhile, commuters in Midlothian continue to feel the brunt of the poor service.

“After months of deflection from the SNP, we’re yet to see any meaningful action from them to tackle the issues on the Borders Railway.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “Suggestions the Scottish Government is not tackling problems encountered by rail users are quite simply wrong. In addition, focusing on single issues such as localised compensation claims gives a misleading view of what is a much bigger and robust franchise performance monitoring process.

“Borders Railway has been a phenomenal success as it continues to grow in both popularity and bringing benefits to the local economy. It is acting as a catalyst for investment while opening up employment, leisure and education opportunities for communities along its length.

“Our ongoing commitment to rail is demonstrated through our investment in the new timetable which is delivering important benefits, not least faster journey times on some routes and higher quality trains. There is also an increase of 115,000 seats per day – 23 per cent since the start of this franchise.”

Under ScotRail’s Delay-Repay scheme, commuters whose journeys have been delayed by half an hour or longer are entitled to claim for compensation from ScotRail.

Compensation payments on ScotRail services have risen massively over the past year. Bosses have been criticised after new figures showed in 2018/19 the rail operator paid £1,119,818, whereas the previous year £647,670 was paid under the scheme, giving a 72.8 per cent increase.