Calls for rail fare freeze for passengers amid high inflation

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have said commuters will be 'clobbered' by steep fare rises without action.

Scottish Liberal Democrats call for rail fare freeze for passengers amid high inflation iStock

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for a freeze on rail fares due to high inflation.

Under the grant agreement between the Scottish Government and nationalised rail operator ScotRail, fare rises – which take effect every January – are capped at the same rate as rises to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) from the previous July.

But inflation has caused the RPI to increase by almost 9%, meaning this could be passed on to ScotRail users.

The Scottish Government, however, is expected to announce the findings of its fair fares review before the end of this year, with a trial scrapping of peak train tickets starting in October.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “These figures will mean that hardworking commuters and all those travelling around the country will be clobbered by steep fare rises unless the Scottish Government takes action.

“Jacking up rail fares does nothing to encourage people on to public transport and makes hitting our key climate and emissions targets even harder.

“The Scottish Government’s response to the cost of living crisis has been utterly miserable.

“Control of rail fares is within the power of the Scottish Government.

“They must immediately announce a rail fare freeze and introduce long-term ticketing solutions to encourage people to rely on rail travel, backed by trains that run on time.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see fares cut, new options for flexible season tickets and for the government to work with councils to explore new lines, particularly in areas that suffer from poor public transport links.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “Rail fares in Scotland only recently increased – below both inflation and the increase applied elsewhere in the UK – after being frozen for almost 18 months.

“Our current focus is on finalising plans for our pilot to remove peak fares and any decision around future fares will be taken after this.”

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