Scottish Government announce peak train ticket fees on Scotrail trains are to be temporarily scrapped for a period next year

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The peak train time fees are set to be scrapped from April 2023 onwards in a six-month pilot scheme

Yesterday a decision was made in Scottish Parliament to scrap peak train fares across all of Scotland’s railways.for six months in hopes of making train journeys more affordable.

The pilot scheme will begin in April 2023 - and will be subsidised by £15m from the Scottish Government. This scrapping of peak fares means there will be no more extra charges when travelling at peak commute times - in some cases nearly halving the price of travelling during normal commuting hours (before 9am and for a while after 5pm).

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A peak fare on a Scotrail train from Glasgow to Edinburgh costs £27.60 - while an off peak costs £14.20 - nearly half the price.

Unions have welcomed the plan as a way of engratiating Glaswegians back into the rail service - which is seen as far too expensive by many. Deputy First Minister John Swinney made the announcement in his 2023/2024 budget yesterday, December 15. He said that by removing peak time fares it’s hoped that it will be ‘a way of making rail travel more affordable and attractive to travellers’.

The train drivers union Aslef have been campaigning to get rid of peak time fares, and welcome the Deputy First Minister’s announcement.The union’s organiser in Scotland, Kevin Lindsay, said: “However, ending peak fares should not be a temporary measure.

“Peak fares are a tax on workers and if we are to encourage more people from road travel on to trains to help Scotland meet its climate targets, we need to invest for the long term and make this a permanent policy.”

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More details will be avaliable regarding the plans for the pilot scheme and for the now nationalised Scotrail will be announced as part of Transport Scotland’s Fair Fares Review to be made public early in the new year.

It’s been noted by the national train operator that the peak time service is much less busy - as trains have yet to see passenger numbers return to pre-covid levels as the country faces a cost of living crisis while many people continue to work from home.

The initiative was initially launched by the Scottish Greens - who also helped implement the free us travel for young adults under the age of 22 across all of Scotland. Ross Greer MSP, Scottish Greens Finance spokesperson said: “I am delighted that we have been able to deliver this longstanding Green policy, one which will save rail users a huge amount of money during the cost of living crisis and which will help Scotland meet its climate ambitions.

“This builds on the success of the free bus travel scheme which Greens introduced for everyone under 22 earlier this year. It will play a vital role in ensuring that public transport is an affordable, attractive choice for travellers.

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“Removing peak fares will take away the two tier system which currently punishes those who have no choice over when they need to travel to work or study. It will open up our railways to all and in doing so, make it cheaper and easier to leave the car at home.

“Getting more commuters to travel by bus or train fast tracks the kind of transformational action that will benefit people not only now, but also future generations for whom this becomes the norm.

“No peak fares, free bus travel for people under 22, and record new investment for walking, wheeling and cycling are just some of the reasons why this is the Greenest budget in Scotland’s history.”

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