The Scottish Government has confirmed that it is suspending peak hour train fares for a trial period of six months, and that ‘off-peak’ fares will be available all day.
The experiment will start on 2 October and continue until 29 March next year.
Transport minister Fiona Hyslop told the Scottish Parliament that the trial is a ‘key part’ of its transport commitments, as set out in its recent Programme for Government.
She said: ‘The Programme for Government makes clear our commitment to encourage a shift towards sustainable transport. We know that there is much to be done in encouraging people back to rail if we are to achieve our net zero targets.
‘This peak fare removal pilot is aimed at achieving this by making ticketing simpler with off-peak fares valid all day. This is an exciting and unique opportunity to encourage more people to choose a safe, reliable, and greener form of public transport.’
Scotland’s Railway managing director Alex Hynes added: ‘This is a hugely exciting opportunity for Scotland’s Railway to encourage more people across the country to choose rail travel instead of using the car.
‘Everyone at ScotRail is working hard to make sure that this six-month trial will be a success, and we will be monitoring our services and stations daily to see where we have any significant increases in customer journeys.
‘We know that cost and simplicity is a critical factor for people when they choose how to travel.’
Although peak fares will not be charged on most routes, they will continue to apply on journeys not controlled by ScotRail, such as Dunbar to Edinburgh. Minimum fares will also apply for some types of railcard until 10.00, while the Two Together railcard will be excluded before 09.30 on weekdays. Transport Scotland said the exceptions have to be made because they are part of wider national conditions which also apply in England and Wales.