WEST Fife rail users will soon benefit from a pilot scheme which will see peak travel fares scrapped for six months.

The initiative, which will start later this year, was announced by the Scottish Government last week and aims to encourage commuters to return to train travel.

Currently, if you want to get a return ticket between Dunfermline and Edinburgh, an anytime day return one would cost £11.80 while an off peak return would set you back £7.20 and a super off peak day return is the cheapest at £5.70.

In a speech to the Scottish Parliament last week, Humza Yousaf said ScotRail would not have peak fares between October 2023 and March 2024.

He said the move would make public transport “more accessible, available and affordable”.

Yousaf added: “As an important part of that, I can confirm today that the six-month pilot to remove peak-time fares from Scotrail services will start in October of this year.

Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart added: “As announced by the First Minister, this trial will begin in October for six months across all ScotRail peak services after which the Scottish Government will carefully consider its impact and next steps.”

“Our aim is to grow the publicly operated ScotRail for the benefit of staff and passengers alike and this includes encouraging a return to rail.“

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker welcomed the plans but said questions still remained over its funding and operation.

She has written to ScotRail for details of how the scheme will run, seeking confirmation that it will cover both morning and evening peak periods, evening peak periods do not apply to all routes but do cover many services to Fife.

“After all the confusion around this scheme from the Scottish Government, it is welcome that we have a confirmed date for the pilot removal of peak rail fares, although regrettable that it is still six months away," she said.

“I am writing to ScotRail to seek more detail on exactly how the pilot will run and whether it will cover evening peak periods. I am also calling on the Scottish Government to clearly communicate its plans to passengers – including on how this scheme is being financed and how it will inform future rail pricing.

“A removal of peak rail fares across the network could have huge impacts in terms of improving the affordability of rail travel but to achieve that will take more than a pilot scheme. I am urging the Scottish Government to commit to a long-term change which makes rail travel more affordable and a viable alternative to car use.

“We also need to see a number of other changes to improve services throughout Mid Scotland and Fife, including addressing the long-term issues of overcrowding, delays and outdated stock.”