Scottish rail fares set to increase by more than 4%

The Scottish government is responsible for setting rail strategy north of the border

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Regulated train fares in Scotland are to increase by more than 4% in January, while the cost of some tickets in England will go up by 6.2%.

The rise was calculated through the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation in July, which stood at 3.2%.

Scottish prices are going up by RPI plus 1%, while some increases south of the border are set at RPI plus 3%.

Holyrood ministers said almost 75% of the cost of a ticket was paid through government subsidies.

And they said the rail network was benefiting from a £5bn improvement package.

Unions claimed higher profits only meant bigger profits for train companies, and have been stating protests across the UK.

Regulated train fares in Scotland include:

  • Fares in Strathclyde
  • Season tickets
  • Off-peak returns
  • Anytime day returns where there is no off-peak return
  • Anytime day singles within the Edinburgh "basket area" (bounded by Falkirk High, Bathgate, Fauldhouse, Newcraighall, North Berwick and Kirkcaldy).

A spokesman for the Scottish government, which sets rail strategy, said: "Increasing rail travel is vital to this Scottish government's key objectives of supporting economic growth, protecting the environment and improving links between Scottish communities and their access to employment opportunities."

The government said it was working on plans for "significant" fare reductions, especially with off-peak journeys, and wants to see more people moving from road to rail as a form of transport.

Fare 'madness'

Scottish ministers said they were also working with train operator ScotRail, which runs 90% of services, to cut fares on the Stranraer line by 65%.

The government spokesman added: "We will consider the findings of the Stranraer fares promotion to determine the improvement in rail patronage and what can be delivered within the Scottish network."

Mick Hogg, Scottish organiser with the RMT transport workers union, said: "Higher fares mean bigger profits for the private companies, staff and service cuts, the closure of ticket offices, cuts to terms and conditions, and potential job losses.

"What we want to see in an ideal world is the renationalisation of the railways, because we don't see any sense in this madness."

A ScotRail spokesman said no decision had been taken on the price of unregulated fares from January.

He added: "Our strategy will continue to aim to strike the right balance between the current economic climate and market demand."

The current First ScotRail franchise ends in November 2014.

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