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Demands for SNP to lower train fares after ScotRail nationalised

ScotRail services have been slashed temporarily.

SNP rivals have called on the Scottish Government to introduce cheaper train travel after ScotRail officially came under public ownership.

Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Tory MSP Graham Simpson both insisted fares must be lowered with current rates branded “eye-watering”.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth has launched a review into ScotRail’s pricing structure and said she would not rule out dropping ticket costs.

Analysis carried out by the BBC showed it currently costs just under £250 to buy a monthly ticket from Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh.

On Friday Nicola Sturgeon said keeping rail travel affordable was “important” and that it had been a key goal of nationalisation.

The first minister also emphasised that encouraging more Scots to use trains would help support the country’s environmental targets.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth.
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth.

Anas Sarwar said it was “good” that ScotRail is now in public hands but said improvements are now needed.

Speaking on The Sunday Show, he said: “What people now want to see is cheaper rail, trains to come on time, more services available.

“At the moment what we’re seeing is rail fares going up.”

Tory MSP Graham Simpson the transport minister “needs to look at lowering fares so they’re more affordable”.

Jenny Gilruth insisted rail travel north of the border is still 20% cheaper than in England.

Fares review

She said: “Our Fair Fares review will look at the cost of fares right across the public transport system and how we better join them up.

“We have taken action to keep fares down. We do need to look at that again.

“The government’s vision is to deliver a sustainable and reliable rail service.”

Ms Gilruth also hinted that the existing ticketing model for peak time prices could be changed by the government.

She added that the number of Scots using trains regularly is still much lower than before the Covid pandemic.

Last September ScotRail workers timetable cuts in Tayside and Fife would negatively affect passengers.

The rail firm was slated when it appeared they had given up on Perth’s rail link to Edinburgh last year.

ScotRail criticised for ‘staggering’ appointment of new chief operating officer who has no railways experience

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