by Giulia Maccagli
Train peak fares in Scotland will increase by one per cent from 2 January 2016 due to a 1.1 per cent rise in average rail fares in Britain, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has announced.
The RDG, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said it was the smallest annual rise for six years.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group said: “We know that nobody likes to pay more to travel by train, especially to get to work, and at 1.1 per cent this is the smallest average increase in fares for six years.
“On average 97p in every pound from fares is spent on trains, staff and other running costs. With passenger numbers doubling in the last 20 years money from fares now almost covers the railway’s day-to-day operating costs.
“This allows government to focus its funding on building a bigger, better network when the railway is becoming increasingly important at driving economic growth, underpinning jobs, and connecting friends and families,” Mr. Plummer added.
The increases cover fares in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland is treated separately.
In Scotland, the rise will involve only peak fares. A spokeswoman for ScotRail said: “We’re pleased to have frozen off-peak fares for the third year in a row, which means fares for four in 10 journeys again remain the same.
“Tickets for travel at peak times are going up by inflation – one per cent. This strategy will help the shift from road to rail which has resulted in 93 million journeys on ScotRail services in the past year alone.”
For Edinburgh and Glasgow commuters, for example, this will mean an increase in their fares as follows: Edinburgh – Glasgow: from £23.10 in 2015 to £23.30 in 2016; Motherwell – Glasgow: from £6.80 in 2015 to £6.90 in 2016; Glasgow – Perth: from £29.50 in 2015 to £29.80 in 2016.
Passengers at Edinburgh Waverley railway station commented on the fare rise.
“The rise of 1.1 per cent is quite reasonable but I think that if it would have been more than that I might get a bit annoyed,” said Clare Walker, a retired woman.
“This increase will affect students, like me, that commute almost everyday. I do not understand why they have to raise train fares every year, considering the fact that public transports are used by a lot of people,” said Matt Winchester, a student at the University of Edinburgh.
“I think that one per cent is not bad, in the past years it has been much higher. If they needed to repair the lights and they provide good trains, then that’s fine,” said Jane Crofford, 62.
Today’s rise is the smallest annual rise since 2009. However, regulated fares have actually raced up by more than 25 per cent in the past five years.