RAIL commuters across Scotland are to face a hike in season ticket prices this year, it has been announced.

Those travelling on the railway could be faced with a 1.6% increase in season tickets from as early as January – however it is understood ministers are considering delaying the 2021 rise due to low passenger numbers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Government, as well as their UK and Welsh counterparts, regulate rises for around half of fares, including season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys, and tickets for travel around major cities at any time.

Despite the rise, Transport Scotland bosses say ScotRail fares are on average 20% cheaper than those across the rest of the UK.

Examples of potential season ticket prices next year after a 1.6% rise include:

  • Edinburgh to Glasgow: Increase of £67 to £4,267
  • Glasgow to Ayr: Increase of £41 to £2645
  • Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh: Increase of £39 to £2479

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that rail fares are affordable for passengers and taxpayers across Scotland.

“We have taken action to keep fares down and ScotRail fare are still on average, 20% cheaper than those across the rest of the UK.

 “We are currently in the process of considering the options regarding future fares and tickets in relation to today’s announcement on the July RPI figure as part of the wider rail recovery work post the Covid-19 pandemic.”

UK Government Department for Transport figures show car use has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, but rail travel is below a third of what it was before the crisis despite lockdown restrictions easing.

All revenue and cost risks from train companies were transferred to the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments in March to avoid franchises collapsing.

This has already cost taxpayers at least £3.5 billion.