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12 January 2017, 15:21
Under-fire ScotRail has improved the reliability and punctuality of services but is still failing to hit a yearly target, according to new figures.
Just under nine out of ten trains arrived at stations within five minutes of their scheduled time in the four weeks to January 7, an 89.7% performance.
The score is up 6% on the previous four-week period and 2.8% better than the same period last year despite covering three of the year's five busiest days and problems with overhead lines in Glasgow and Airdrie.
ScotRail's yearly punctuality target for the past 12 months now stands at 90% - short of the 91.3% required in franchise contract with the Scottish Government.
The train operator was instructed to put in place an improvement plan by the Scottish Government to tackle performance problems and said the new figures show it is working.
ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster said: ''These latest figures show that our performance improvement plan is starting to produce results for our customers and we are achieving this in the middle of the biggest upgrade to our railway since Victorian times.
''We can do more and we can go higher, and every single one of the 7,500 people who work on Scotland's railway is committed to doing just that.
''The sheer scale of the work we are doing to improve the railway has resulted in more disruption than normal. This means that our customers have had to put up with a lot over the past few months.
''We have done everything we can to keep people moving during this unprecedented period. I hope our customers can take some encouragement from the continued improvement.''
Political opponents said ScotRail is not doing enough to improve.
Scottish Labour transport spokesperson Neil Bibby said: ''2016 was a year of delays and disruption on Scotland's railways. This year needs to be a year of change and improvement.
''Humza Yousaf said he expected ScotRail to hit their performance targets by the end of March yet here we have another set of figures showing contractual targets are still being missed.
''The clock is ticking for Humza Yousaf and ScotRail.''
Scottish Conservative North East MSP Liam Kerr said: ''It's all fine and well publishing these figures but commuters know that they are still not receiving a good enough service.
''Every day they are forced to put up with delayed and overcrowded trains, and many have simply had enough.
''If ScotRail really want to convince passengers that the situation will improve, they need to outline the actions they are taking that will make a difference in the immediate future.''