Senior politicians today called for a rail operator to be axed after yet more travel disruptions in Aberdeen.
The calls for Abellio to be stripped of its contract came after passengers dealt with chaos at Aberdeen rail station on Thursday evening due to staff shortages.
Three evening services were cancelled and passengers had to make a 100-mile journey from the city to Inverness by road, getting home after 3am – three hours later than planned.
Problems continued yesterday as two services between Aberdeen, Stonehaven and Edinburgh were cancelled due to a lack of staff.
The cancellations follow weeks of disruption on the lines which has included overcrowded trains running with fewer carriages and services ending earlier than usual, forcing customers to miss connections, and scores of service cancellations that have even been condemned by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The operator was also issued with a remedial plan notice by Transport Scotland on Christmas Eve over its performance issues.
ScotRail chiefs today apologised but MSPs demanded more action.
Aberdeen Donside independent MSP Mark McDonald branded the situation “completely and utterly unacceptable” and added: “People are now finding their plans being completely ruined because ScotRail cannot put together a service which meets even the basic aspirations of the public.
“The time has now come for the Scottish Government to remove the franchise from Abellio (a rail operator that has the ScotRail contract).”
North East Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles said: “The current ScotRail franchise holder is not up to the job and I am calling on the Transport Minister Michael Matheson to give them notice that their contract to run Scotland’s railway should be terminated at the very first breakpoint.”
One passenger tried to travel to Inverurie on Thursday night but two trains were cancelled so he forked out £25 for a taxi home. Other customers had to wait an hour for a replacement bus to arrive after the last train of the night to Inverness was cancelled.
It did not arrive in Inverness until past 3am – three hours after the train would have arrived.
The passenger, who asked not to be named, said: “I shall be claiming my £25 back. It’s appalling.”
ScotRail managing director Alex Hynes said: “We’re really sorry to customers for the disruption to services over the last few days and recent weeks.
“We know the impact this has on your day and are working flat out to get things back to normal.
“Anyone delayed by 30 minutes or more as a result of a cancellation is entitled to compensation through our delay repay guarantee. Just keep hold of your ticket and claim on our website or mobile app.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Passengers deserve a railway which delivers the benefits of more seats and services on a consistently reliable basis.”
Have you had your journey disrupted in the last month? If so, tell us your story by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01224 344150.