Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today set out plans to slash the cost of rail travel as part of a rapid emissions reduction programme aimed at encouraging people to ditch their cars in favour of climate-friendly transport.
It comes as the opportunity approaches to revisit the issue of rail fares and discounts, with Abellio ScotRail’s contract coming to an end this March – three years ahead of schedule. Scottish Liberal Democrats are now calling for railcards to be made available to everyone, bringing railcard discounts to people and services in every part of the country.
Based on the railcard model that already exists in London and the South East, it would mean everyone is eligible to get 1/3 off rail travel. The party’s proposals would also mean the discount is increased to 50% for those who already qualify for railcards.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“It’s hard to take the Scottish Government’s commitment to decarbonisation seriously when the most environmentally friendly form of mass transportation ticks up in price year-after-year.
“Scotland’s transport emissions are stubbornly high. They are unchanged since the 1990s. One way we can tackle that is getting people out of private cars, off internal flights and on to our railways. But that won’t happen if the costs don’t add up.
“That’s why I want to see railcards opened up to everyone, built on the model that already exists throughout London and the South East. It would mean you can get a third off the cost of a ticket on most journeys, with the discount rising to 50% for those already entitled to a railcard.
“I also want the government to up its efforts to open or reopen routes to communities who are crying out for them. That’s a serious, ambitious and credible proposals for boosting rail travel. It would be good for our environment and good for our economy too.
“From proposals to make all new public sector vehicles electric to ending support for Heathrow airport expansion, under my leadership it is Scottish Liberal Democrats who are showing real leadership when it comes to the climate emergency, not the stodgy and slow-paced SNP/Green coalition.”