Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Rail fares increase: What it means for Edinburgh commuters

People queue at a foreign currency exchange shop in Istanbul People queue at a foreign currency exchange shop in Istanbul Credit AP
Russell Knight | 15 August, 2018, 21:43

RMT Transport Union members have been campaigning outside Carlisle Station to protest against the latest rail fare increase.

North Berwick commuterd face a £58 rise from £1,804 to £1,862.

Stirling-Glasgow seasons will rise by £70 from £2,160 to £2,230.

Off-peak day returns will rise by about 30p from £13 to £13.30.

It said annual Glasgow-Edinburgh season tickets would go up by £126 to £4,082.

Scottish Labour condemned the "rip-off rail fare rise".

Connectivity spokesman Colin Smyth, said the rises were "unnecessary".

"Rail passengers have endured enough from the failures of the rail network this year, and being asked to pay more again next year will be a bitter pill to swallow".

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Watchdog Transport Focus said ScotRail's passengers would be not be happy because improvements such as two new fleets of trains had been delayed.

Mr Grayling said he wanted to see "lower levels of increases for passengers in future".

"We understand that aspects of the current fares system are frustrating for people which is why as part of the industry's plan, train companies are also leading a consultation to update regulation and improve the range of fares on offer, making the system simpler and easier to use for customers".

It uses the July Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation - announced by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday - to determine the cap on the annual increase.

Passengers can also save money by getting a railcard, travelling off-peak and booking in advance, although these options are not available for many journeys, particularly by commuters. Chris Grayling's desperate attempt to try and make front line rail workers pay for his incompetence and the train operators greed has backfired on him just like everything else he touches.

"This means, in Scotland, average fares increases are lower than England and Wales, where the UK Government applies an increase equivalent to RPI to all regulated fares".

The issue of fares on south east services, now provided by Southeastern, is politically sensitive, with a new franchise operator due to be announced this year.

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