Rising rail fares mean it is now cheaper to drive to Scotland’s major cities and park than take the train, a price comparison has revealed.
January’s rail fare rises mean that a journey between Inverness and Aberdeen costs £54.60 (off peak £30.40) whereas to drive and park is just £24, the Sunday Herald reported.
Travelling from Glasgow to Edinburgh by train the peak fare is £24.70 compared with the road equivalent of £19.52. From Dundee to Edinburgh, 63 miles by road, it is £13 cheaper by car at peak and £5 less off peak.
Ticket prices across Britain went up by an average of 3.4 per cent this month and 3.2 per cent on ScotRail.
The rises were the sharpest since 2013, when fares increased by 3.9 per cent.
“Trains have a far lower carbon footprint but rail fare rises mean people who have economical cars and can make it work with parking will do that, instead of taking the train,” Liz Warren-Corney, Scotland organiser for the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, told the newspaper.
“Forcing people into cars makes a nonsense of any claims that the government cares for the environment.
“It also works as another poverty tax, leaving people who can’t afford a car paying more for their travel on trains.”
Train drivers’ union Aslef (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) also warned that rail fare rises could mean taking the car is cheaper for commuters.
Scotland organiser Kevin Lindsay said: “We want to see as many people use railways as possible and we certainly don’t want to see more cars on the road, but that’s what will happen. The railway should be there to serve the community, not to serve the rail bosses.
“They should be looking at bringing in a rail fare freeze. You can’t continue going to the same well and asking people to pay more. The fares now are so expensive people are being forced back into cars.”