ScotRail, the government-owned rail operator in Scotland, has announced a six-month trial of a new fare structure. The most expensive ‘peak fares’ will be cut, as will some of the current cheapest ‘super off-peak peak’ in order to simplify the fare structure across the network.
The six-month trial will run from October 2 to March 31, 2024.
Although the trial will mean many commuters pay less for their daily journeys, some off-peak travellers will end up paying more during the period.
Instead of peak, off-peak and super off-peak tickets, there will now be a single “all-day ticket”.
For some journeys, that all-day price is the old off-peak ticket price, but for other routes, both the highest and lowest prices will be scrapped, with a new median rate introduced. That means some passengers will pay more than usual during the trial.
As many commuters buy season tickets for set periods at a set price, they will be able to apply for partial refunds.
The new ticket prices are part of a Scottish government plan to accelerate a modal shift from cars to rail as part of its net zero efforts.
Scotland’s Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop explained: “This peak fare removal pilot is aimed at achieving [government net zero targets] by making ticketing simpler with off-peak fares valid all day. This is an exciting and unique opportunity to encourage more people to choose a safe, reliable and greener form of public transport.”
ScotRail’s managing director Alex Hynes added: “We know that cost and simplicity is a critical factor for people when they choose how to travel and we are looking forward to delivering this fantastic fare reduction for our customers.”
Train ticket pricing and sales are a hot topic in the UK currently. The UK government in London is facing criticism for a plan to allow train operating companies (TOCs) to close many ticket offices around the country.