Rail fares cost some Scots a fifth of wages

The Scottish Government has been accused of presiding over a 'great train robbery' after analysis revealed some commuters in Scotland spend a fifth of average wages on rail fares.

Read More

Read More
Glory days of the Caledonian Sleeper retold in new book

In comparison, a worker commuting 30 miles from Etampes to Paris would spend 2 per cent of France’s average monthly pay on tickets, at £66.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Labour’s Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Colin Smyth said: “SNP Ministers are presiding over a great train robbery - passengers are having their pockets picked in comparison to commuters on the continent.

Some commuters in Scotland pay a fifth of their salary on train fare. Picture: Greg Macvean

“Passengers are paying a fortune, often for delayed and overcrowded trains and when their train isn’t cancelled they can’t be even be guaranteed to stop at the stations they are supposed to.

“This strengthens Labour’s case to bring the railways back into public ownership.

“While SNP Ministers are acting as cheerleaders for the privatised rail system, Labour is making the case to nationalise our railways including ScotRail at the earliest opportunity and deliver a public transport service that works for the many not the few.”

About 85 per cent of revenue for the rail operator comes from fares set by the Scottish Government, which decides how much its customers pay, ScotRail said.

Some commuters in Scotland pay a fifth of their salary on train fare. Picture: Greg Macvean

In Scotland, it is possible for the public sector to bid for the franchise, a move brought in by the SNP.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said the suitability of existing public sector bodies to bid for such a contract is being considered.

The Scottish Government is also said to be looking at what steps would be necessary to create a new body to do so, if needed.

He added: “Scotland has the lowest rail fares increase in the UK, with the average regulated increase below the rate of inflation.

“Our consistent view is that there ought to be a level playing field between the private and public sector in bidding for rail franchises.

“This will enable us to ensure the delivery of rail services in Scotland that deliver maximum economic and social benefit.”

Scottish Labour said its research included the routes of ScotRail’s top 10 busiest trains from March 2017, while the costs are for standard travel monthly season tickets.

A ScotRail spokesman said: “We are investing millions of pounds in Scotland’s railway to better connect our communities and support the economy.

“Money from fares is reinvested to improve services, customer experience, and track and signals, as we continue to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”

The average monthly earning for a person in Scotland is £1,929.17, according to official statistics.