From October 2 this year, ScotRail’s peak fare prices will be removed in a bid to encourage a higher number of rail travellers.
The move was confirmed by transport minister Fiona Hyslop on Wednesday who said the scheme, which will initially last until March 29, 2024, will help towards the government’s “net zero targets”.
She said: “The Programme for Government makes clear our commitment to encourage a shift towards sustainable transport. We know that there is much to be done in encouraging people back to rail if we are to achieve our net zero targets.
“This peak fare removal pilot is aimed at achieving this 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.”
The pilot will be in place ahead of the October school holidays and savings including ScotRail’s “Kids for a Quid” offer will also still apply.
A long-term plan will be considered after the six-month trail period in March next year.
The changes, which are the first of their kind in the UK, come after a significant decline in people travelling during the traditional peak times, with the market currently only standing at 70% of pre-pandemic levels.
Alex Hynes, Scotland’s railway managing director, said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity for Scotland’s railway to encourage more people across the country to choose rail travel instead of using the car.
“Everyone at ScotRail is working hard to make sure that this six-month trial will be a success, and we will be monitoring our services and stations daily to see where we have any significant increases in customer journeys.
“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.”
As a result of the changes, fares on the main route between Edinburgh and Glasgow will come down from £28.90 to £14.90.
There are some routes where no off-peak fare exists because the same price is available at any time of the day, and as such, customers will not see any change in those areas.
Details will be available on the ScotRail website, or the app, from September 18.