Rail travel in Scotland is being held back by a lack of car parks, which is proving to be the biggest obstacle in some areas.
By Louise Batchelor
BBC Scotland environment correspondent
But there may be relief on the way, as the Scottish Executive has promised early action after taking charge of the railways and the principal train operator, First ScotRail, says it is on the case.
have taken control of Scotland's train network
In the Ayrshire town of Irvine, population 22,000, the station car park has room for only 35 cars.
Frank Luman prefers to travel by train to Glasgow or Edinburgh, but it is often a lost cause.
"The situation is absolutely diabolical," he said.
"Here we have government policy saying we want you to be green and to get on the train, leave your car behind, reduce air contamination and so on, but you come here and you find it is full from 7am onwards for the rest of the day."
Commuters used to leave their cars all day at nearby shops, but traders complained and now there is a three hour limit.
Councillor Alistair Watson, chairman of Strathclyde Passenger Transport, said: "What we are experiencing at this particular station and elsewhere in Ayrshire is a real demand for travel on our railway network and we have to meet that demand.
"Part of meeting that demand is to look overall seriously at expanding our park-and-ride network throughout Strathclyde."
Across the country in Fife, Inverkeithing station is popular with commuters - but by 0800 GMT most spaces have gone.
Fife motorists are facing the possibility of hefty tolls on the ailing road bridge as the authorities try to cut traffic. They need realistic alternatives.
Transport Minister Tavish Scott said: "Fife is probably the best example in Scotland of where we could make a bit of progress in helping the congestion we face on the road by investing more in rail facilities.
"In this sense it is not necessarily the trains themselves, it is in car parks because people who can park safely and securely and know that their car will be there when they come back and that they can park at a reasonable time of day are more likely to jump on a train.
"These are the kind of choices we want to put into the transport system."
Opening car parks does not have the same appeal as new stations, but First ScotRail insists it is working on it.
Managing director Mary Dickson said it had a responsibility to work with the Scottish Executive to identify areas of particular demand for park-and-ride.
She said schemes were already in operation in places like Fife, Uddingston, Bathgate and Croy.
"We are starting to address and extend parking where we see there is immediate demand for it," she said.
There is a tricky balance to be struck.
There is a park-and-ride for Fife commuters crossing the Forth
If rail operators supply car parking on demand there would be worse overcrowding on the trains and small railway towns could be swamped by cars.
On the other hand, many trains run half empty throughout the middle of the day because shoppers and day-trippers cannot beat regular commuters to the spaces.
There are dozens of players involved, from train operators to Network Rail and local authorities.
Mr Scott has promised to find a way through.
"To encourage more people to travel by train in Scotland we certainly need to provide more car parking spaces at different stations across the network.
"There is a lot of evidence that people will use the train if they can conveniently park at their nearest railway station," he said.