HELENSBURGH’S MSP Jackie Baillie has urged ScotRail to start putting “people before profits” after figures revealed the number of compensation claims made by passengers affected by late or cancelled trains has soared.

Between April and December of 2018, a total of 110,661 claims were made by rail passengers under the Delay Repay scheme, a rise of more than 50 per cent compared to the previous year.

The money-back initiative allows frustrated commuters to reclaim some or all of their fare for trains delayed by 30 minutes or more.

Helensburgh passengers faced disruption last week due to a signalling fault at Craigendoran Station, while just 42.2 per cent of services arrived on time at Helensburgh Central between March 3 and March 31.

READ MORE: Helensburgh trains still worse than ScotRail average

Ms Baillie said: “These figures underline the chaos and misery faced by rail passengers across the country.

“Passengers travelling to and from Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Balloch have faced months of delays, cancellations, short-formed and overcrowded trains.

“For months I have been told stories of people being late for college, university and work, and even missing hospital appointments because of the unreliable train service.

“It is time that the transport secretary finally listened to the public and stripped Abellio of the contract bringing our railway into public ownership.

“Passengers deserve better and our transport network should put people before profits.”

Ms Baillie has previously criticised ScotRail for failing to extend extra compensation or discounted travel offers to those on the Helensburgh, Dumbarton and Balloch routes.

READ MORE: ScotRail says no to Helensburgh MSP's compensation discount call

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to providing the best possible service for our customers and our delay repay guarantee is at heart of that approach.

“We know how much of an inconvenience it is to customers when things don’t go to plan, and it is only right that they are compensated when that happens.

“The Delay Repay system is easy to use and we regularly remind our customers to claim for compensation if their journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more.

“While it has been a challenging time for Scotland’s railway, things are improving and more trains are arriving on time than ever before.

“Everyone at the ScotRail Alliance is working flat out to provide customers with the service they expect and deserve.”

ScotRail said that the industry-standard Public Performance Measure (PPM) shows that 81.3 per cent of trains ran on time at Helensburgh Central.

The statement added: “On-time performance is a tough but ambitious measure adopted when Abellio took over the franchise in the interest of transparency.

“PPM is the measure we’re required to report to the Scottish Government and applies to trains arriving within five minutes of timetable that have called at all booked stations on the way.

“We extensively promote Delay Repay on a daily basis across all of our external communications channels.

“Our social media team always remind customers to claim when they have been delayed and they post a link to our website with full details.”