Aberdeen train users rail against ‘ridiculous’ fares hike

Train users have hit out at the fare increase
Train users have hit out at the fare increase

A rail fares price hike has been branded as “ridiculous” by Aberdeen train users.

Rail passengers hit out after a nationwide increase in prices came into force yesterday.

Peak-time season tickets and anytime day tickets in Scotland are rising by 3.2%, while the capped increase of off-peak fares is 2.2%.

ScotRail said the price increase comes as the operator invests “millions of pounds to build the best railway Scotland has ever had”. Work is ongoing in the north-east to double track the railway between Aberdeen and Inverurie to increase services.

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Speaking on the day the increase came into effect, university researcher Graeme Baxter, 56, of Woodside, said: “I get the impression it goes up on an annual basis and given the lack of pay increases for a lot of people in these times of austerity, it does seem like quite a high rise.

“There does seem to be a lack of infrastructure to justify the price increase.”

Retired nurse Mabell Grassick, 63, of Westhill, agreed.

She said: “It’s too dear. It’s horrendous for folk who are relying on the train every day.”

David Moore, a 64-year-old carer from Summerhill, was equally critical.

He said: “Rail fares are too expensive already, so if they’re going to increase them it’s ridiculous.

“There shouldn’t be an increase. They should stay as they are. The service is not very good.”

Leigh Barnett, 33, who works in the city as a store manager, said: “I think it’s ridiculous that they’ve put the prices up.

“Half the time they don’t have enough carriages. I wouldn’t mind if the trains were on time and you were guaranteed a seat.”

However, not everyone was put off by the rise.

Martin Perry, 62, who stays near Stonehaven, said: “It doesn’t bother us, really. The trains are always on time and they run fairly often.”

But the rise comes at a challenging time for the train operator, as cancellations throughout November and December breached required performance targets, prompting the Scottish Government to demand ScotRail publishes a plan on how it will improve.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “While any fares increase is unwelcome, calls for a fares freeze underestimate the impact of these on the public purse.

“Two-thirds of the cost of running the railway is already met through Scottish Government subsidy, with the remainder through passenger revenues. Any change to fares could therefore have a significant impact on the taxpayer.”

A ScotRail spokesman said: “85% of our revenue comes from fares set by the Scottish Government, which decides how much our customers pay. We are investing millions of pounds to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”