Transport Scotland has announced that rail fares will be increased by almost 9% but that the scheme scrapping peak fares is being extended for a further three months.

The pilot, which saw an end to peak priced tickets and was initially due to last until the end of April, will now finish in June.

However, in a blow to travellers, Fiona Hyslop, the transport minister, said the increase in fares would come into effect in April for ScotRail services and from January 1 on the newly government-owned Caledonian Sleeper.

The price-freeze which had been put in place in response to the cost of living crisis, Hyslop said, was now “unsustainable”.

The decision came just 24 hours after the Scottish government announced an £80million cut to rail funding in the budget.

The changes mean a return ticket between Glasgow and Edinburgh will increase from £14.20 to £15.40, between Aberdeen and Glasgow the fare will rise from £65.20 to £70.90 and for Inverness to Perth the will increase from £34.60 to £37.60.

Ms Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government rightly made the decision to freeze flexi-pass and season ticket prices as part of its response to the cost-of-living crisis. While this has now remained in place for almost two years, it is simply no longer sustainable.

“From 1 April 2024, all ScotRail fares will increase by 8.7%. We know that any increase is unwelcome for passengers, therefore we have kept the rise as low as possible to maintain the attractiveness and affordability of rail as a travel option.

“Caledonian Sleeper fares will also increase by 8.7% and this will take effect from 1 January 2024.

“We continue to look at ways to encourage greater rail use and that is why we are extending our peak fares pilot for a further three months until June 2024.

“Fares and fares increases remain, on average, lower than across the rest of Great Britain. ScotRail also continue to develop fares initiatives which can help attract more passengers, while offering savings and added value to existing rail users.

“We are committed to investing in public transport and through this latest budget we will provide more than £2.5 billion to support it. This includes over £1.6 billion to operate, maintain and improve Scotland’s railway, £430 million in funding for concessionary travel and bus services, and £434 million to operate and invest in our ferries.”

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