THE Scottish Government has been accused of presiding over a “great train robbery” after analysis revealed some commuters in Scotland spend a fifth of their wages on rail fares.

Workers travelling from Dunfermline and Edinburgh are forking out £167.50 a month for the 17-mile journey, which equates to 8.7 per cent of the average pay packet.

Fifers have long complained about unfair ticket pricing in this country, but the difference in Europe is even stark. A 30-mile commute in France between Étampes and Paris costing just £66.31 a month – two per cent of the average wage.

Scottish Labour called it “the great train robbery” and their Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth, said: “Passengers are having their pockets picked in comparison to commuters on the continent.”

Lesley Laird MP previously raised the issue that Fifers were being “ripped off” in Scotland, where the cost can be up to three times more for the same length of journey.

The Press’ Crush Hour highlighted the issue and revealed that an annual season ticket from North Queensferry to Waverley costs £1,384 while the same journey from Dalmeny, the other side of the crossing, costs just £956, a difference of more than £400 for the length of the Forth Bridge.

About 85 per cent of revenue for the rail operator comes from fares set by the Scottish Government, which decides how much its customers pay, ScotRail said.

Ms Laird, the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “ScotRail has admitted services won’t begin to improve in Fife until the end of this year, when new rolling stock is expected to cascade through the network.

“That’s gutting news for hard-pressed commuters in Fife to hear, but it’s still not the full picture.

“Fifers are still paying well over the odds for reliable rail travel, let alone the grind of a daily commute on overcrowded, late trains; don’t forget, that’s not only compared to European countries but also two to three times more per rail mile than other regions in Scotland.

“If the political will was there, this discrimination against Fifers could finally be put right, but instead – after admitting its performance over the winter months was woeful – ScotRail decide the appropriate response is to offer off-peak passengers here in the Kingdom a peace-token £5 fare for a period of two months.

“This reeks of contempt for passengers and, if they didn’t see it before, I’m sure the public see Abellio now for what it is: an operator which is determined to put profits before passengers.

“It’s increasingly clear that the only solution to protecting passengers is to switch rail services to public, not private ownership.”

In Scotland, it is possible for the public sector to bid for the franchise, a move brought in by the SNP.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said the suitability of existing public sector bodies to bid for such a contract is being considered.

A ScotRail spokesman said: “We are investing millions of pounds in Scotland’s railway to better connect our communities and support the economy.

“Money from fares is reinvested to improve services, customer experience, and track and signals, as we continue to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”

The average monthly earnings for a person in Scotland is £1,929.17, according to official statistics.