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Scottish commuters fare better than the rest of Britain as train fares rise

26 April 2011
Rail fares are set to rise faster in England and Wales than in Scotland from next year, saving Scottish commuters up to £750 over the next four years. Campaign for Better Transport has learned that the Scottish government does not intend to raise the cap on regulated train fares for ScotRail routes from next January in line with increases south of the border.

The move comes as passengers head to the polls for the Scottish elections next month.

Fares are linked to inflation and are set to rise significantly faster than wages in the coming years. However, while rail passengers in England and Wales will see regulated fares soar 28 per cent by 2015, Scottish commuters will face a 21 per cent increase over the same period. Journeys that cross the border into England will still be subject to the higher increase.

Alexandra Woodsworth, Campaign for Better Transport's public transport campaigner, said: "Fares are already far too expensive wherever you live, and we need to reverse the trend of year on year increases. But while Westminster is introducing the biggest hikes in a generation, the government in Scotland has decided to protect passengers from extra fare increases. We encourage the next Scottish government to continue to set an example for the rest of Britain.”  

Campaign for Better Transport launched Fair Fares Now to call for cheaper, simpler, fairer train tickets that provide good value for money and encourage people to choose the train. The campaign has recently joined forces with Transform Scotland, an alliance of Scottish sustainable transport groups.

Colin Howden, Transform Scotland’s director, said: "Fare increases facing Scottish rail travellers over the next five years are already unacceptably steep. So it is truly outrageous that the coalition government is planning to punish rail users south of the border with even higher fare hikes. Higher rail fares will only force people off trains and back on the roads."

Fair Fares Now is supported by a group of MPs who have tabled a parliamentary motion calling for more affordable rail fares.

Notes to Editors

1. In October’s Spending Review, the Government announced that the cap on regulated rail fares in England and Wales would be raised from 1 per cent above the RPI inflation rate to 3 per cent above inflation for three years from January 2012. The Scottish government is keeping the cap at 1 per cent above inflation.

2. The rising cost of a season ticket from Dundee to Aberdeen if fares remain capped at RPI+1%:

2011 – £3,768.00
2012 – £3,997.85
2013 – £4,181.75
2014 – £4,369.93
2015 – £4,570.94
Total cost over five years: £20,888.47

The rising cost of a season ticket from Dundee to Aberdeen if fares were to rise by RPI+3% for three years from January 2012, in line with England and Wales:

2011 – £3,768.00
2012 – £4,073.21
2013 – £4,342.04
2014 – £4,624.27
2015 – £4,836.99
Total cost over five years: £21,644.51

The savings over five years by keeping the cap at RPI+1% is therefore: £756.04

The rising cost of a comparable season ticket in England, from Bedford to London, using the RPI+3% increase:

2011 – £3,780.00
2012 – £4,086.18
2013 – £4,355.87
2014 – £4,639.00
2015 – £4,852.39

You can see more examples of fare increases in Scotland, England and Wales here.

3. According to the latest wage and inflation forecasts from The Office for Budget Responsibility, average earnings for 2012 will increase by 2.2 per cent. Regulated rail fares on the other hand will increase by an average of 6 per cent (3 times faster than wages) in Scotland and 8 percent in England and Wales (4 times faster than wages).

4. Campaign for Better Transport launched the Fair Fares Now campaign in January to call for cheaper, simpler, fairer rail ticketing. Visit the website for more information.

5. MPs have tabled early day motion #1577, which calls on the Government to honour its commitment to fair pricing for rail travel, and review its decision to raise fares by 3 per cent above inflation from January 2012.

6. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).