Deputy News Editor
Train fares in Scotland are due to rise by up to 3.6% from January 2018.
This increase will affect Season Tickets and Anytime travel. Off-Peak tickets will increase by 2.6%. This is the highest percentage increase ScotRail has seen since 2011, when fares rose by 5%. The rise is based on July’s retail price index (RPI) which measured inflation across the UK at 3.6%, increasing by 0.1% since June.
The Scottish Transport Secretary, Humza Yousaf stated: “While there has to be an increase in fares to support rail services, our actions ensure the annual increase for key fares is never more than inflation and that any increase for off-peak fares is always less than inflation.
“This allows us to continue to invest in improvements, to grow passenger numbers and to ensure rail travel is fair, affordable and an attractive alternative to travelling by car.”
Yousaf claims that the cost increases will be balanced out for Season Ticket holders by promising a week’s free travel. The cost of an Annual Season Ticket between Edinburgh and Glasgow will rise from £3,820.00 to around £3,957.50; however, Yousaf states that the free week will result in a £95.50 saving to passengers.
Despite the criticism ScotRail has faced for its late and cancelled services, Yousaf stated that although 2016 was a “challenging year for the rail industry”, he is “confident ScotRail can and will deliver the kind of services passengers deserve.”
Public protests have been held outside Scottish train stations, including Glasgow Central.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT Union), who organised the protest outside Glasgow Central, argued: “The huge hike in fares is another kick in the teeth for passengers who already fork out colossal sums to travel on rammed-out, unreliable trains while the private operators are laughing all the way to the bank.”
Scottish Labour Deputy Leader, Alex Rowley, also spoke out against the cost increases: “After all the delays and disruption people have had to put up with on the railways, no passenger should face a fare hike when they return to work this week.
“The bottom line is that fares will still rise to record levels this year for the vast majority of passengers. It is insulting to ask passengers to pay a penny more for the shocking ScotRail service they have been receiving.”
The UK Government stood by the rise in ticket prices, claiming that these increases are justified by the improvements to the network. The Department of Transport maintained: “We are investing in the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century to improve services for passengers – providing faster and better trains with more seats.”
“We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger.”