Rail ticket rises to be capped from 2016

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OFF-PEAK train fares will rise 1 per cent below inflation from 2016, the transport minister has announced.

Keith Brown said the Scottish Government is writing a condition into the contract for the next rail franchise to peg off-peak fares at RPI-1, or 1 per cent below the retail price index measure of inflation.

It follows an announcement last week that peak fares will be capped at RPI in January 2014 and 2015, as long as the annual rate stays below 3.5 per cent.

Brown said: “The Scottish Government recognises the financial pressures ­being faced by people every day, and paying for their commute is part of that.

“We are working hard to do all we can to ease that burden and helping keep rail fares down will not only be easier on the wallet but will also encourage more people to turn away from the ever-rising cost of the car, and let the train take the strain.

“We will ensure that peak fares can’t rise above inflation, but today’s announcement means we’ll ensure off-peak tickets rise by even less. This will ensure an end to the incessant cycle of inflation-busting fares rises.

“I want families to use the train rather than the car for leisure travel. And I want greater use of sustainable travel. We all know it is better for our environment and our general well-being.

“Successful negotiations with First ScotRail have resulted in off-peak fares being frozen from 2013. Provided that RPI remains below 3.5 per cent per annum for the remainder of the franchise, off-peak fares will not increase by a single penny. And, again, these benefits will be delivered at no extra cost to the subsidy. In 2016, off-peak fares will rise by RPI minus 1 per or zero, whichever is the lower.”

He added: “In the coming years we have substantial plans, particularly, to improve links between our city regions. Our infrastructure proposals between Edinburgh and Glasgow, between Aberdeen and Inverness, between Inverness and the central belt and between Aberdeen and the central belt underline that commitment.”