A FIFE MSP has called for peak rail fares to be permanently scrapped. 

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife believes that the Scottish Government’s pilot scheme to remove peak rail fares and shift to off-peak fares all day must be made permanent to build a fairer, greener rail service for people in Fife. 

He said: "The removal of peak rail fares, and the shift to off-peak fares all day, has already supported thousands of people in Fife through the cost of living crisis. By making the scheme permanent we can ensure that even more people are able to feel its benefits and change their long-standing habits.

“The best changes are ones that help our climate and communities like Fife while supporting household budgets, which is exactly what happens when we cut the cost of transport."

The ground-breaking scheme, which began in October 2023 and has been extended until June 2024, was secured by the Scottish Greens during their time in Government.

It has already provided huge financial relief to people commuting to and from the Kingdom at peak hours

The Scottish Greens understand a decision is due to be made imminently on the future of the pilot, and have launched a campaign to make the off-peak all-day fare permanent.

Mr Ruskell continued: “Every pound that is saved on a commute is money that can instead go towards heating, eating or any of the other expenses that have piled up for households all over Fife as a result of the Tory-inflicted cost-of-living crisis. 

“Peak rail fares are an unfair tax on the many workers and students in places like Fife, who do not have any choice about when they start work or go to study, that is why my Scottish Green colleagues and I worked with Ministers to deliver the pilot scheme.

“There is no way for us to tackle the climate crisis without drastically reducing the number of cars on our roads. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that public transport and greener travel are affordable and attractive choices for travellers. 

“That is why the Scottish Greens secured free bus travel for everyone under 22 and record investment in walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure, and why we built on that with the pilot to scrap peak rail fares.

“With a new First Minister taking office, I hope that this change is made permanent and that it can play a key role on our journey to fairer, greener and better transport for people in Fife and for Scotland.”

READ MORE: Fife MSP wants peak rail fares to be suspended indefinitely

READ MORE: Scotrail passengers to see peak time fares temporarily scrapped

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We recognise that any additional cost to travel is unwelcome, especially during the current cost of living crisis.

“The ScotRail Peak Fares Removal Pilot has already been extended for a further three months until 28 June. This will provide further data to inform the final evaluation on the success (or otherwise) of the pilot. 

“Our aim for a publicly owned ScotRail is to make Scotland's Railway more attractive. That includes looking at ways in which greater flexibility in setting fare increases can best help those who might benefit most.

"When determining our future fares strategy, we will take account of the recommendations of the Fair Fares Review, the final evaluation of the ScotRail Peak Fares Removal pilot, and the wider economic position.”