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Call for rail fare rises to be scrapped in Scotland amid fears of 3.8%

Labour have called on the SNP government to scrap any rail fare rises next year amid a cost of living crisis.

They fear passengers will be hit by a 3.8% increase at a time when family budgets are under unprecedented pressure.

MSP Neil Bibby said: “If we are serious about building a green transport system we need to put a stop to rip-off rail fares.”

Universal credit cuts, gas price rises and national insurance hikes are putting incomes under severe strain.

Although no announcement on prices for 2022 has been made, the ScotRail franchise agreement ties regulated fare rises to the RPI method of calculating inflation.

Labour calculates that passengers are in line for a 3.8% rise – the biggest in years.

It comes as ScotRail has faced anger over plans to cut services compared to the pre-pandemic timetable.

Industrial action has also seen Sunday services grind to a halt.

Bibby said: “It is staggering that the SNP are set to impose the biggest fare hike in a decade as the cost of living crisis bites.

“For years now they’ve let fares spiral out of control, while wages lag far behind.

“It is wildly reckless to raise fares again while so many households are struggling to make ends meet.

“The SNP have failed passengers and rail workers time and time again, refusing to oppose cuts to services or stand up for fair pay and conditions. They must take a different approach this time.

“The SNP must show us that a publicly owned ScotRail will mean more than just a fresh coat of paint for Scotland’s trains.”

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “Labour’s position on rail lacks any credibility. If they want more routes, more stations and lower fares they need to be honest with people and explain how this would be paid for especially when the cost of running Scotland’s railway has already increased by nearly half a billion pounds as a result of the pandemic.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that rail fares are affordable for people in Scotland. We will consider the announcement on the July RPI figure while looking at options for future fares, and as part of wider work to create a fully operational and functioning rail network post the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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