A big hike in rail fares is on the way for West Dunbartonshire and Argyll commuters.
By Lucy Ashton
More than 100 ScotRail services have been cancelled as the rise in Covid cases gathers pace.
The train operator’s website showed 118 cancelled trains on Monday morning, with staff illness stated as the cause of almost all of them.
Positive cases and self-isolation are having an increasing impact on trains and other public services as the new variant advances.
Bus services, attractions and theatre shows have also been badly hit.
Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has criticised the SNP for its “reckless” decision to hike up rail fares in January.
The SNP has confirmed that it is inflicting a 3.8% increase to rail fares – the biggest increase in a decade.
Under existing rules, the increase should have been limited to 2.8% for off-peak fares – but the SNP has scrapped this formula for the first time since the start of the current franchise in order to impose an even bigger rise.
It is also pressing ahead with the rise earlier than the UK government, who are waiting until March to hit passengers in England with the same extortionate increase.
This comes as services are delayed and cancelled virtually every day.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “It is wildly reckless to hit passengers with this brutal rip-off fare rise while a cost of living crisis rages on.
“Local passengers will be forced to cough up extra, months before the rest of the UK because of the SNP’s decision to plough ahead with this in January.
“Slapping passengers with the biggest hike in a decade months before ScotRail is taken into public hands is an utterly shameful start.
“If the SNP are happy to let fares spiral and routes decline, then their takeover will mean little more than a fresh coat of paint.
“We need to show some real ambition for the future of ScotRail, so that we can finally put passengers first and build the green, affordable railway service we need.”
Dumbarton Central Station – commuters will see “brutal” fare increases in the New Year.
Commenting on the news that the SNP/Green Government has confirmed a 3.8% increase to rail fares, Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Jill Reilly has condemned its “lack of green vision” on the climate emergency.
The fare increase will come into effect in January 2022 and will be the biggest hike in the last ten years.
Ms Reilly said: “It’s hard to take the SNP/Green coalition government’s commitment to decarbonisation seriously when the most environmentally friendly form of mass transportation ticks up in price every year.
“An almost 4% fare increase won’t encourage people to choose a train over driving, especially when families and businesses are being hit from every angle by rising prices.
“This government has a severe lack of green vision. Scotland’s transport emissions are stubbornly high and have been unchanged since the 1990s. We must act fast before it’s too late. Scottish Liberal Democrats want to give people new hope for the climate emergency. We want to see an efficient and green rail network that gives everyone railcard discounts instead of eye-watering prices.”