SCOTRAIL has asked customers to “consider making their own arrangements” ahead of 700 services being cut on Monday.

The newly nationalised railway operator is struggling with a driver shortage, after the pandemic interrupted new driver training and staff rule out rest-day working amid a pay row.

A typical ScotRail driver salary is more than £50,000, with drivers being offered a 2.2% pay rise and the opportunity to participate in a revenue share agreement which would take the total package to 5%.

The offer has been rejected by the unions Aslef and RMT, which described it as “derisory” – following this week’s news that inflation has hit 9%.

Employment minister Richard Lochhead told the BBC’s Sunday Show that he hopes the situation will be “sorted soon”, after one economist suggested the timetable cuts could cost the Scottish economy between £75 million and £80m every week.

The National:

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth said on Friday that the cuts would provide passengers with “certainty”.

In the mean time, work is under way to recruit drivers and Gilruth said reliance on rest-day working must stop.

But ahead of the major timetable cuts on Monday, ScotRail caused upset by advising customers to find other ways to travel.

“Replacement transport can't be guaranteed and customers are asked to consider making their own arrangements,” the organisation said in a tweet advising people to check their service is still running.

Conservative MSP Meghan Gallacher called the move “shambolic”.

“This isn’t good enough and the Scottish Government are fully responsible for this mess,” she responded.

“What's the point of a public transport system that asks the public not to use it?” asked another commenter.

Scottish Government ministers have not put a timetable on how long the service cuts will last.

The National:

Gilruth (above) told the BBC on Friday: “It’s under review and I’ll be meeting with ScotRail tomorrow to seek further assurances on this.

“We know that people want certainty when they travel. What passengers have experienced over the course of last weekend and on the weekend prior to that was a number of cancellations and uncertainty when they travel.

“So this timetable delivers on that certainty, I know it’s not good enough, I know I would like us to get back to where we were to the new timetable which was meant to come back this week.”