Rail passengers are to be hit with fare hikes of up to 3.2% in the new year.
Peak-time tickets and season ticket prices will rise by 3.2% across the UK, and off-peak ticket prices will rise by 2.2% in Scotland – 1% lower than in England and Wales due to a Scottish Government pledge.
It means, from January, commuters travelling into the city from Inverurie will have to pay £46 more for an annual season ticket, while those travelling into Aberdeen from Stonehaven will have to pay £43 more for season tickets.
Commuters travelling from the city to Edinburgh will see their season ticket price rise by £246, taking the fee to £7,934, and those travelling to Glasgow must pay £253 more – a total bill of £8,185.
Some have argued replacing the Retail Price Index (RPI) economic indicator, used to set the fare increase, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) indicator would limit price hikes, but rail campaigners think the hike should be abandoned altogether.
Steve Chambers, of the Campaign for Better Public Transport, said: “Replacing the RPI with CPI would be a welcome move, but we are saying fares should not go up at all in January.
“It just isn’t fair to expect passengers to pay more for a worse service.
“Government-regulated rail fares, like season tickets and standard returns, make up almost half of all fares. They are the tickets many of us have to buy in order to get to work.”
Mr Chambers said: “We wrote to the prime minister in June outlining what passengers had been telling us about their nightmare journeys to work that were happening day after day.
“The response we got in July suggests no end in sight to the reduced services on many lines subject to interim emergency timetables.
“We’ve also learned further timetable improvements in December this year have been postponed indefinitely.”
Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said passengers would be “amazed” at the increase.
He added: “A fares freeze would benefit all passengers, begin the process of re-building trust and start to bring passengers back to a railway they can rely on.
“We know 30% of rail commuters are satisfied with the value for money of their ticket.
“Despite substantial investment in new trains and track, many passengers have yet to experience a more reliable railway with accurate information, less disruption and better value for money.”
ScotRail and GNER, which run rail services through Aberdeen and the north-east, are represented by the Rail Delivery Group, whose spokesman said most ticket income is spent on maintaining the rail network.
“For every pound spent on fares, 98p goes back into running and improving the railway,” said the spokesman.
“Thanks to income from fares, as well as the private sector and the taxpayer, the rail industry is seeing the highest level of investment in a generation, changing and improving the railway.
“Seventy brand new ScotRail trains were introduced on key routes across Scotland in autumn 2017 with free wifi in all carriages.”
A UK Department for Transport spokesman said: “This is the sixth year in a row where this government will cap regulated fares in line with inflation.”
The Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We recognise fares increases are unwelcome. That is why we have taken action to minimise these.
“ScotRail’s price promise scheme also ensures passengers have access to information on best-value fares and refunds are issued where a cheaper alternative can be found.”