Fife MSP’s call to permanently scrap peak fares on train services

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A Fife MSP has called for the trial suspension of peak train fares to be made permanent. Alex Rowley branded the higher charges a “tax on workers.”

The Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife has written to Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, urging her to make the move before the current pilot project comes to an end. He said the Scottish Government’s decision to suspend peak fares was “absolutely correct” and called for all parties to work together and to continue it indefinitely.

His question came amid concerns that the Scottish Government may be looking to reinstate peak fares at the end of the pilot period, which has been extended until June 28. Mr Rowley said recent advertising of the scheme appears to stress the end date, encouraging rail users to get the benefit before it is too late.

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Rail unions first mooted the idea of ending peak fares in a bid to encourage more people to choose travelling by rail rather than car, particularly during regular commuting hours.

A Fife MSP wants the peak fares suspension to remain permanently. (Photo by John Devlin)A Fife MSP wants the peak fares suspension to remain permanently. (Photo by John Devlin)
A Fife MSP wants the peak fares suspension to remain permanently. (Photo by John Devlin)

Mr Rowley said: “I absolutely welcome the Scottish Government’s decision to pilot suspending peak fares and believe we need bold decisions like this if we are to encourage more people to use public transport for daily commutes. It has been well received by workers I have spoken to who have welcomed it during a time of particular financial hardship.

“We should be doing everything we can to make rail travel as accessible and affordable as possible if we are serious about reducing car kilometres and getting more people using public transport. I have offered to work with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport to ensure this pilot is a success so that this can be introduced on a permanent basis.”