Rail fare rise is simply a rip-off

Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland list MSP Colin Smyth has hit out at the rip-off rail fare rise that will hit passengers across Ayrshire.

Peak fares will increase by 2.8 per cent in January, mirroring the retail price index (RPI) rate of inflation.

All regulated fares in England and Wales are set to go up in line with this rate.

However, the rise in off-peak fares north of the border will be held at 1.8 per cent, as the Scottish Government has pledged to cap them at one per cent below RPI.

A season ticket fare between Ayr and Glasgow will rise by £70 to £2602, while season ticket fares between Kilmarnock and Glasgow will increase by £48 to £1796.

Mr Smyth thinks it is unfair that passengers across Ayrshire are burdened with these rip-off rail fares when passengers are constantly facing delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

He said, “These rail fare rises are unwanted, unwelcome and unnecessary. It is simply unfair that commuters across Ayrshire are being burdened with these rip-off rail fares for less than satisfactory services.

“The cost of rail fares being paid by passengers is simply unacceptable with passengers commuting between Ayr and Glasgow are facing a season ticket rise of £70 and passengers between Kilmarnock and Glasgow face a rise of £48.

Scottish Labour is clear. It’s high time working people stopped having to pay such excessive fares to simply line the pockets of private companies.

“Only Labour is fighting for a publicly owned railway which will serve the many, not just the few.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson added: “We are committed to ensuring that rail fares are affordable for passengers and taxpayers across Scotland. We have capped increases where we have influence, making fares 20% cheaper on average than in the rest of Great Britain.

“While any fare increase is unwelcome, calls for measures such fares cuts or a fares freeze underestimate the impact of these on the public purse. Two-thirds of the cost of running the railway is already met through Scottish Government subsidy, with the remainder through rail passenger revenues. Any change to rail fares could therefore have a significant impact on the taxpayer.

“The ongoing UK-wide Williams review offers an opportunity to reform the broken rail franchise system. Rather than implement any measures prematurely, we await the UK Government’s white paper in the autumn before making fundamental change. This includes fares policy as we would need to understand how it would work within the context of any change to franchising.”