PEAK rail fares should be permanently scrapped, according to a Scottish Green representative.

MSP Mark Ruskell said the Scottish Government’s pilot scheme which has seen off-peak fares all day must be made permanent to build a fairer and greener rail service for people in Clackmannanshire and beyond.

The Mid Scotland and Fife representative understands a decision is due to be made on the future of the pilot scheme, which began in October last year and has been extended to June 2024.

Mr Ruskell said: “The removal of peak rail fares, and the shift to off-peak fares all day, has already supported thousands of people in Clackmannanshire 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.

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

“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 Clackmannanshire as a result of the Tory-inflicted cost-of-living crisis.”

The pilot scheme was secured while the Scottish Greens were in government and the MSP explained it provide huge financial relief for commuters at peak hours.

The MSP added: “There is no way for us to tackle the climate crisis without drastically reducing the numbers 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.”

He said he hoped that with a new first minister taking office, the change is made permanent.

However, a Transport Scotland spokesperson told the Advertiser: “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 been extended for a further three months until June 28, this should help to ease the transition to the increased fares and provide further data to inform the final evaluation on the success 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.”