ScotRail fares rise: Passengers to be hit with biggest increase in nearly a decade

Train passengers will be hit with the largest fares rise in nearly a decade next year.

Transport Scotland has confirmed the fares increase it will put in place as it seeks to recover rail revenues lost throughout the pandemic.

From late January, both peak and off-peak regulated fares will increase by 3.8 per cent.

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It comes after the UK Government announced rises for England and Wales from late March.

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The figure of 3.8% is in line with July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.

A ScotRail spokesperson today defended the rise, saying there was “no profit being made by the business”.

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Unions have criticised the Scottish Government.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: “It’s disgraceful to see the SNP rushing ahead of the Tories by raising ticket prices two months earlier than the rest of Britain.”

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The rise will come as blow to passengers.

He added that the fare rises would do little to encourage new passengers to Scotland’s railways: “This has to stop. Fares rises are staggeringly counter-productive.”

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Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF Scotland Organiser said: “If we are to shift people from road to rail we need to create a service that is fully staffed, with affordable fares, stations that are accessible and trains that are clean, green and attractive.

“If the Scottish Government are serious about tackling the climate crisis and supporting our economy they will halt these planned fare hikes in their tracks and end peak fares which only act as a stealth tax on working people.”

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Scottish Labour’s Transport spokesperson Neil Bibby said it was “wildly reckless to hit passengers with this brutal rip-off fare rise”.

He added: “If the SNP are happy to let fares spiral and routes be decimated, then their takeover will mean little more than a fresh coat of paint.

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“We need to show some real ambition for the future of ScotRail, so that we can finally put passengers first and build the green, affordable railway service we need.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “While some customers will understandably be disappointed by this announcement, the revenue generated from fares is essential to allowing ScotRail to run a service, help the economic recovery, and reduce the burden on the taxpayer.

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“There is no profit being made by the business, and only with significant support from the Scottish Government can services continue to operate.

“Coronavirus has changed our railway fundamentally. We are working hard on plans to develop new ticket types, better technology, and different services to meet customer demand and attract as many people back to the railway as possible in the coming months.

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“It’s crucial we attract people to choose the train as the low-carbon alternative in the coming months and years.”

Graeme Dey, Minister for Transport said: “For over a decade the Scottish Government has kept fares increases down by ensuring they are in line with RPI, or even lower in the case of off-peak fares. Scottish rail fares remain, on average, 20% lower than across the rest of Great Britain.

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“We challenged ScotRail to develop robust plans to increase revenue, while also seeking to identify efficiency savings that help put rail services on a sustainable footing. It is only right we implement proposals, such as this increase, where they make sense given the changes in passenger travel patterns.”

The fares increase will come into effect on 24 January 2022.

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