ScotRail commuters to be hit with 3.2 per cent fares rise

ScotRail commuters will pay an extra 3.2 per cent from January - just short of this year's biggest rise for five years.
ScotRail fares will have increased by nearly 7 per cent over the latest two rises. Picture: John DevlinScotRail fares will have increased by nearly 7 per cent over the latest two rises. Picture: John Devlin
ScotRail fares will have increased by nearly 7 per cent over the latest two rises. Picture: John Devlin

The average hike in season ticket and peak fares follows a 3.6 per cent increase at the start of this year, which was the largest jump since 2013.

Other operators such as LNER, Virgin Trains and CrossCountry will increase their fares by 3.2 per cent.

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However, ScotRail’s off-peak tickets will go up by 2.2 per cent in line with the Scottish Government pegging the increase at 1 per cent below peak fares.

Scottish Labour condemned the “rip-off rail fare rise”.

It pointed out Glasgow-Edinburgh annual season tickets would go up by £126 to £4,082.

Connectivity spokesman Colin Smyth, described the hikes as “unnecessary”.

He said: “It is simply wrong for commuters to have to pay more for train services which are plagued by delays, cancellations and stop-skipping.

“Thousands of working people may now be priced out from travelling on Scotland’s railways.”

Watchdog Transport Focus said ScotRail’s passengers would be unhappy because improvements such as new train fleets had been delayed.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Passengers in Scotland will be disappointed to see fares rise.

“They will be expecting to see the fruits of investment in Scotland that delivers improved connectivity, capacity, new trains and station redevelopments, meeting the growth in passenger journeys that has increased by 23.5 million in ten years to 97.8 million journeys.

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“There also needs to be clear communication about how and when improvements will be delivered, in order to rebuild trust due to the recent experience of increased costs and delays to the infrastructure programme.”

Scottish Greens transport spokesman John Finnie said: “While it’s welcome the increase in Scotland won’t be as eye-watering as in England, rail users still deserve better value for money.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Mike Rumbles MSP said: “The

last thing hard up passengers need is another year of rail fare rises soaring above wage increases.

“We will never tempt motorists out of their cars and onto public transport if this is what they have to look forward to.”

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Government recognises fares increases are unwelcome.

“That is why we have taken action to minimise these. Regulated ScotRail peak fares increases are capped at the level of the retail price index (RPI), and regulated off-peak fares at 1 per cent lower than inflation.

“This means, in Scotland, average fares increases are lower than England and Wales, where the UK government applies an increase equivalent to RPI to all regulated fares.”