SCOTRAIL is is announcing a return to on-train duties for ticket examiners and conductors from Monday with customers urged to plan ahead to stay safe.

The return of duties, including checking and selling tickets, is what the train operator says is the latest step towards a "level of normality" for customers, after travel restrictions were lifted last week.

It comes a matter of days after a fourth day of strike action by Scotrail conductors in a fight over what the RMT union says is over "equality and workplace justice over enhanced payments for rest day working".

Two weeks ago ticket examiners also voted for industrial action in what union leaders say is a "growing fight for workplace justice".

READ MORE: ScotRail to become state owned from March 2022

ScotRail said that the presence of staff moving throughout trains is expected to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour on services and assist in making sure trains are kept clean and tidy during journeys.

It said British Transport Police and roving ScotRail teams will also be on trains, carrying out on the spot fraud checks to make sure passengers are paying for the correct journeys.

ScotRail said passengers are being asked to play their part by continuing to heed the rules for safe travel that are still required on trains and in stations. These include the wearing of face coverings and maintaining physical distancing of one metre.

With increased ticket checks in place both at stations and on trains, ScotRail reminded customers to buy tickets in advance of travel via the ScotRail app, website, or station facilities to ensure waiting times are reduced and physical distancing supported.

HeraldScotland:

All customers must hold a valid ticket before boarding a train.

ScotRail said it had suffered a "massive financial downturn" and Scottish Government support worth more than £400m since March 2020, has meant that it has not cut any permanent jobs, reduced wages, cut terms and conditions or employee benefits or used furlough.

Dutch state-owned transport firm Abellio which runs ScotRail was told last month that it will stop running the franchise at the end of March next year.

After this an "arms-length" Scottish government company will take over the running of services.

Abellio has been running the franchise since 2015 but had its contract ended early amid criticism over cancellations and performance levels.

All ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish government-owned entity.

ScotRail says it will be increasing the number of services from Sunday, 16 May adding that it is "confident" that the current service levels provide enough space to accommodate the easing of restrictions.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail head of customer pperations, said: “We are absolutely committed to the health and well-being of our staff and passengers, so there has been a massive effort to ensure the on-train environment is safe to give people peace of mind when travelling.

“The visible presence of ScotRail staff throughout trains is critically important for customers, and its return is a welcome step in the recovery of the railway.

“But, it’s also vital our passengers remember they have a responsibility to each other, and our staff, to observe our rules for safer travel until COVID-19 restrictions are completely lifted.

“Customers are being reminded to buy tickets in advance of travel via the ScotRail app, website, or station facilities. It is a requirement to hold a valid ticket before boarding a train, and we will be increasing the frequency of our checks to make sure customers are playing their part.”

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT said the union and a working party have agreed a risk assessment for revenue protection to return safely as from April 26.

He added: "However keeping staff and passengers safe is the priority of both RMT and the company backed up with a robust risk assessment that shall include the fitting of a FFP2 mask by a competent person.

"If there is a failure to provide a competent person to fit a FFP2 mask RMT members will be instructed to refuse revenue protection duties on the grounds of safety."