SCOTRAIL is under fire after it emerged over 24 different documents are required for users to gain compensation from their scheme.

One of Britain’s leading watchdogs criticised the transport company for having the worst compensation procedure in the UK.

Overcrowding, delays and cancellations have become recurring problems on the Borders Railway route from Tweedbank to Waverley station.

And under the Delay-Repay scheme, commuters whose journeys have been delayed by half an hour or longer are entitled to claim for compensation from ScotRail.

However, last week the compensation scheme was criticised by consumer group, Which?.

They found ScotRail’s reimbursement process to be the joint worst in the UK, requiring over two dozen documents to be completed for commuters to lodge a claim.

Despite the difficult process, compensation payments on ScotRail services have risen massively over the past year.

Managers of Scotland's railways have been criticised after new figures showed in 2018/19 the rail operator paid out £1,119,818 under the scheme.

Compared to the previous year’s figure of £647,670, this is a 72.8 per cent increase.

Figures also show, on average, 46 services a day were axed across all ScotRail routes towards the end of 2018.

Students travelling up to college or university in Edinburgh are also feeling the affect of major delays and cancellations.

Especially now, during exam season, when arriving more than thirty minutes late could result in missing a vital assessment.

Isla Gibb, a tourism student living in Lauder, travels up to Edinburgh for college three days a week using the Borders Railway.

She told us: “Using ScotRail is simply not a reliable way to travel.

“I often experience cancellations and delays on my way to and from college.

“And even if the train is on time there is never enough seats for everyone in the morning, it’s a nightmare.

“This makes it extremely difficult for me to use the trains on days I have assessments as I have been late and missed them on numerous occasions.

“A whole year of hard work and studying shouldn’t be put in the balance by unreliable trains.”

When asked about the Which? report and extra student compensation for missing exams, a ScotRail spokesperson had this to say: “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.

“We are absolutely committed to providing the best possible service for our customers and our Delay Repay Guarantee is at heart of that approach.

“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.”

Further outrage occurred this week, after it emerged that the Scottish Government is unaware of how many people have been affected by the sub-par Borders Railway service.

In response to a Parliamentary Question asking the number of people who have claimed compensation for the delays they’ve experienced on the Borders Railway the Transport Secretary conceded that the Scottish Government “does not have” that information.

Michelle Ballantyne, MSP for South Scotland, has claimed that the lack of information on the number of Borders commuters affected by ScotRail is an indication that the Scottish Government is not on top of the problem.

She commented: “Despite several months of complaints, delays and cancellations, the Scottish Government still have no idea how many people have been affected.

“Or indeed how many people have claimed compensation.

“This goes to show the SNP’s bark is worse than its bite.

“Despite talking a big game about holding ScotRail to account for its failures on the Borders Railway, we have clear evidence that they are not on top of the issue.

“Meanwhile, commuters in the Borders continue to feel the brunt of the poor service.

“After months of deflection, we are yet to see any meaningful action to tackle the issues on the Borders Railway.”

In response to another question by Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles, the Transport Secretary also stated that: “It is not possible accurately to determine how much compensation is unclaimed.

“Passengers can apply for compensation if their journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more and if they miss a connection because of a delay on a ScotRail train.

“Compensation is straightforward to claim by using the ScotRail app or at staffed stations and their web-site provides details of additional compensation that passengers may claim.”

ScotRail, run by Dutch train operator Abellio, have been put under pressure over the increased disruption caused in recent months after they put in a new winter timetable in December.

Bosses have claimed the issues are being caused by staff shortages as many are being trained how to operate the new high-speed trains.