On track: Half of new rail users have switched from cars since peak fares scrapped

Scottish Greens hail new analysis which shows removal of peak rail fares is working.

A Transport Scotland analysis showing that half of all new rail users are people who have ditched their cars underlines why the removal of peak fares should be made permanent, say the Scottish Greens.

The first significant tranche of new data released from the opening three months of the ScotRail pilot - which Transport Scotland say will be delivered well within budget - shows that 53% of new users surveyed had previously taken private cars. Another third said they had made at least one new rail journey since the pilot started.

The survey also asked new rail users about the impact of the pilot on their decision to switch to rail; 78% indicated that the Pilot was a very important factor in making this change. The figures also show an increase in numbers on our railways in the first three months of the pilot.

While the pilot programme was - under pressure from the Scottish Greens - extended until September 27, the party’s transport spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP urged the Scottish Government to “see sense” and go further.

He said:

“This new data shows there is evidence of car users becoming rail users over what has only been a short space of time, of passenger numbers having an initial lift, and that there is an appetite for people to fall back in love with rail again.

“That is good for commuters and passengers, good for their finances, with some workers and families saving hundreds of pounds. It is also fantastic for the planet by getting people off the roads and onto rail.

“First Minister John Swinney has spent the last four weeks since taking up his role warning how an incoming UK Labour government will follow the same path of austerity that has caused the Tory cost-of-living crisis.

“If that is the case, if that is what he really believes, then helping people overcome financial stress by scrapping peak rails permanently while also helping the planet should be a no-brainer.

“At the very least he can commit to extending it to the Holyrood elections in 2026 and then leave the choice to the voters by deciding then, based on two years more information, whether it can be judged a success.

“The Scottish Greens know this is the right direction of travel and we would urge SNP ministers to get on board too.”

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