Scottish rail fares set to increase by less than rest of UK

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The SNP has welcomed lower increases in rail fare charges in Scotland compared to in England, where the hike is double the inflation increase.

Despite the ticket prices being held down in Scotland by fares capped at RPI +1, concerns are being raised about the steeper rest of UK rise which means cross border travel will increase to a level which will hit people travelling to Scotland particularly hard

SNP MSP Aileen McLeod, member of the Infrastructure and capital Investment Committee, said:

“It is greatly encouraging that the Scottish Government have capped increases at inflation + 1 per cent for the rest of the Scotrail franchise compared to contrast to the 3 per cent above inflation increase in the rest of the UK.

“But it is extremely disappointing that travellers looking to come to Scotland for tourism or for business will face a huge hike in the price of their fares.  At a time when we want to see more people taking the train it is ridiculous that the UK are allowing fares to rise so much.

“Rail travel supports protecting the environment, is key to aiding economic growth and is vital for improving links between Scottish rural and urban communities.

“There is no question that the price of travel is on the up – not least because of the price of fuel – which makes the Scottish Government’s decision to keep prices down as low as possible and initiatives like cheap fares to Stranraer a real boost for passengers.

“If the UK Government continues to levy VAT and fuel duty at the current rate then it makes travel more expensive for the public, and that is something they must address.”

Commenting on the 6.2% increase south of the border, Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:

“Rocketing rail fares will be an enormous blow to cash-strapped commuters and will simply make it harder for many people to get to work and encourage more vehicles onto our over-crowded roads.

“Earlier this year the [UK] Government froze fuel duty for motorists – similar support should be given to rail-users by capping fare rises below inflation.

“Public transport played a huge part in making London 2012 such a tremendous success – we now need an Olympian effort to give people across the country an affordable alternative to the car.”