Passengers putting their feet on train seats – or leaving chewing gum on them – are costing ScotRail almost £100,000 a year in Government penalties. And the train operator has also revealed that it had to fix more than 350 seats in the last month alone, including nearly 100 damaged by discarded chewing gum.
ScotRail has now launched a campaign – backed by leading environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful – aimed at encouraging people to show respect for their fellow passengers and property.
The ‘Neat Seats’ campaign follows almost half of all ScotRail penalties under one of the UK’s toughest monitoring regimes being directly attributed to what Transport Scotland terms ‘seat failures’.
The seat penalties were £173,450 in the year ending 23 June, 2012 under Transport Scotland’s Service Quality Incentive Regime (SQUIRE).
More than half these penalties – some 52% – were due to damage caused by passengers, and mainly by people putting feet on seats.
Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We are delighted to support all ScotRail campaigns which encourage people to show respect for their environment. The Neat Seats campaign is tackling the issue of dirty and damaged seats head on.”
He added: “ScotRail’s focus on cleanliness within trains has already made an impact in other areas, but more importantly, this campaign will raise public awareness of the growing problems caused by passengers’ feet on seats.
“This campaign is a key component in changing the behaviour of a minority of railway users who show a lack of consideration for their fellow passengers.”
Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, welcomed Keep Scotland Beautiful’s support.
He added: “ScotRail’s overall performance under the regime has improved in recent years, but unfortunately the amount of damage caused to train seats is growing.
“Everyone deserves a clean seat, and this campaigns aim is to make our trains an even more pleasant and comfortable way to travel.”
The campaign will include promotional events at five ScotRail stations, and new posters and announcements on trains.
SQUIRE penalties for the 12 months to 23 June 2012 totalled £372, 849 – down 16.5% on the previous year, and the third consecutive annual fall.
However, the seats penalty rose by 160% to £173,450 from £66,960 in the last year.
Neat Seats information stands, featuring giveaways including ‘gum bins’, will visit:
· Partick station on 17 and 18 September
· Glasgow Central Low Level on 19 September
· Glasgow Central High Level on 20 and 21 September
· Aberdeen on 24 September
· Glasgow Queen Street High Level on 25 and 26 September
· Glasgow Queen Street Low Level on 27 September, and;
· Kilwinning on 28 September.