Commuters across South Scotland are set to pay even more for their annual season ticket due to yet another fare rise.

Last week, the RPI (Retail Prices Index) announced that peak regulated rail fares will increase in price by 1.6 per cent.

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour transport spokesperson Colin Smyth brought the matter to the attention of the Scottish Parliament during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.

Speaking in Parliament, he said: “Commuter rail fares have risen by 54 per cent under the Scottish National Party Government.

“This week, it was confirmed that unless there is a change of policy from ministers, fares will rise by another 1.6 per cent. Does the First Minister agree that now is not the time for more fare hikes, and that we need at least a ticket price freeze and, ultimately, a new fares regime that is affordable and will encourage people back on to our rail network as it becomes safer to do so?”

Colin Smyth added: “It is simply wrong that because of decisions made by Scottish Government Ministers, commuters will be forced to pay even more for rail fares which have spiralled since the SNP came to power. Encouraging people back onto the network in the future will be important to getting the rail sector on a more stable footing and that won’t be helped by rising fares.

“This latest rip off rail fare rise is unwanted, unwelcome and unnecessary and will hit thousands of working people who use Scotland’s railways.

“The UK and Scottish rail franchise system is broken. Only Scottish Labour will bring our railways back under public ownership to ensure that these rip off rail fares end and that our railways provide better value for passengers and the taxpayer.

“In the meantime, I am calling on the Scottish and UK Governments to freeze fares as they are, and help support the thousands of people who use the railways. We also need a totally new ticket regime. For example, many people from our region travel to Edinburgh or Glasgow for work but not always five days a week especially now with an increase in working from home. We need to see season tickets that reflect this, covering not just travel for five days a week but two or three days a week to benefit commuters.”

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