In October 2023, the Scottish Government introduced a pilot scheme to remove peak rail fares and shift to off-peak fares all day.

There is a need to ensure this scheme is made permanent to build a fairer, greener rail service.

Currently, this ground-breaking scheme has been extended until June 2024, which was secured by the Scottish Greens during their time in Government.

This decision to remove peak rail fares has already supported hundreds of thousands of commuters through the cost-of-living crisis. It is a change that has cut the cost of public transport and provided vital savings which support household budgets.

Every pound that is saved on a commute is money that can instead go towards heating, eating or any of the other expenses that have piled up for households and families all over Glasgow as a result of the Tory-inflicted cost-of-living crisis.

The scheme has been backed by Scotland’s rail unions and the STUC, who have called peak time fares an ‘unfair tax on workers.

We know that peak rail fares are an unfair cost for the many workers and students who do not have any choice about when they start work or go to study.

This is why the Scottish Greens agreed with Ministers to deliver the pilot scheme.

These cheaper, greener rail fares have already helped give drivers a reason to leave their cars at home and try the train instead.

By making the scheme permanent we can ensure that even more people are able to feel its benefits and change their long-standing habits.

There is no way for us to tackle the climate crisis without drastically reducing the number of cars on our roads.

One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that public transport and greener travel are affordable and attractive choices for travellers.

Rail Industry Association research from 2021 showed that every pound spent on rail travel generated £2.50 into the wider economy.

It has been possible for the Scottish Greens to secure free bus travel for everyone under 22 and record investment in walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure, and we have built on that with the pilot to scrap peak rail fares.

We have to recognise the importance of providing cheaper, greener railway journeys and consider that they are a way to tackle the climate crisis as well as supporting workers, and families.

During their time in Government, Scottish Green MSPs strongly supported the move to bring ScotRail back into public ownership.

We must now put that to good use and ensure our rail network delivers for people and the planet.

We have to prevent a return to peak fares in June.

This price hike would have a negative impact on the number of train passengers. Every effort must be made to make our railways more affordable, accessible and reliable.

With a change of First Minister and the end of this pilot scheme upcoming, we are calling on the Cabinet Secretary for Transport to remove peak time rail fares in Scotland permanently.”