Scotland’s rail operator has reported 97.6% of its trains were on time in the last month, as it switched to a reduced timetable due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Scotrail introduced a modified timetable when lockdown measures were brought into force in a bid to support healthcare staff and other key workers, including early-morning and late-night services.
The new figures continue to show an improved picture for the operator, following the announcement that the contract of Dutch-owned firm Abellio to run the services would be ended early in 2022.
Following a three-year high of 92.3% punctuality in March, the latest figures – between April 1 and May 2, improved by 5.3%.
Further changes to the timetable are expected when guidance from the Scottish Government on the lockdown changes, Scotrail said.
Alex Hynes, the managing director of Scotland’s Railway – a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scotrail, Network Rail and others, said: “We know how important Scotland’s Railway is and I am delighted at how hard our staff are working to keep the key workers moving across the country.
“With fewer services running, we have made multiple changes to the timetable to make sure we are meeting the needs of those key workers who absolutely need to travel.
“There are clearly challenges ahead but it is very encouraging that we have been able to implement such a robust timetable and get so many trains running on time.”
In December, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson told the Scottish Parliament the Scottish Government would use a clause in the contract with Abellio to end the agreement in March 2022.
The news came after Scotrail was issued with two remedial plan notices from the government over issues with punctuality.
A spokesman for Transport Scotland welcomed the figures, calling them “very good”, and thanked staff for their work.
He added: “We recognise that the service is radically reduced due to the Covid-19 outbreak but both infrastructure and operations have performed exceptionally well.
“We will continue to monitor and work with the industry as it works to deliver its performance improvement plans, where permitted.”