Campaigners fury as the cost of rail travel set to increase by 2.8%
Rail users have been dealt a blow after it was announced that the cost of travel is set to increase next year.
It was announced that the cost of getting the train will rise by 2.8% from January 2, 2020.
This will see the expense of getting from Glasgow to Edinburgh by train increase by £114 to £4,198 for an annual season ticket.
The Scottish Government sets a cap on the annual rise in most of these fares – including season tickets – are linked to July’s Retail prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.
The number of journeys made using season tickets has dropped from 712 million in 2015/16 to 625 million in 2018/19.
Bruce Williamson, spokesperson for campaign group Railfuture , said passengers will “groan and whinge” when the fares go up again.
He told the PA news agency: “It might be that we’ve now reached the point where we cannot simply put fares up and expect passengers to take the hit.
“They will just give up and refuse to pay. They will either find either another job or another form of transport.”
UK Government Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris said that the rises would see further investment on the lines.
He said: “It’s tempting to say fares should never rise, but the truth is that if we stop investing in our railway then we’ll never see it improved.”
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union ( RMT ) has already announced plans for a series of protests later on today.
Strike action will be taking place outside 30 stations across the country, including one in Edinburgh.
The organisation will also step up demands for publicly owned railways during day of demonstrations.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Every year, millions of pounds are siphoned out of the system as private shareholder profit rather than being reinvested in the network.
“Only 10% of stations are fully staffed, yet UK passengers pay some of the highest fares in Europe.
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“The increase announced this month will only serve to make the rail network less affordable and accessible for the travelling public.
“Privatisation is at odds with a sustainable rail network – we need a publicly-owned and nationally-integrated railway now.”
Analysis by the Trades Union Congress ( TUC ) found that rail fares have increased at twice the speed of wages since 2009.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said “another hefty fare increase” is the last thing passengers needs.
Industry body the Rail Delivery Group said 98p in every £1 spent in fares goes back into running the railway.
The organisation’s director of nations and regions Robert Nisbet said: “No one wants to pay more to get to work but by holding rises down to no more than inflation, Government is ensuring that money from fares continues to cover almost all of the day-to-day costs of running rail services.
“This means private sector and taxpayer money can go towards improving services for the long term.”