Rennie: Fife commuters could be hundreds of pounds worse off with smart card

Fife commuters could be hundreds of pounds a year worse off if they take up the new Scotrail smart card, an MSP has warned.

North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie has issued the warning after regular rail travellers contacted him to point out a major anomaly that could leave them out of pocket.

If a commuter converts their season ticket to one of Scotrail’s new smart cards they lose the right to travel on East Coast of Cross Country trains. Even though the smart ticket costs the same as the paper ticket it isn’t valid on some services. Commuters who have converted their paper season ticket to a smart card will have to pay extra to travel on some commuter services. People from Leuchars , Cupar or Ladybank won’t be able to use the 06.46 Cross Country to Edinburgh or the 18.10 or 18.33 East Coast back home.

If a commuter used these services once a week they will pay more than £700 extra every year.

A season ticket from Leuchars to Edinburgh already costs £3,444 and it’s £3,288 from Cupar and Ladybank.

Mr Rennie has contacted the Scottish Government and Scotrail to ask for a fairer deal for smart card users from Fife. Mr Rennie said:

“I am calling for the price of a smart card season ticket to be reduced to reflect that it isn’t valid on all services.

“I also want commuters who have surrendered their paper season ticket for a smart card to be able to convert it back to avoid the penalty charges from Cross Country and East Coast.

“It isn’t Scotrail’s fault that Cross Country and East Coast don’t honour the tickets. And Scotrail are upfront about the eligibility. But it still adds up to a poor deal for Fife commuters who could be much worse off as a result.

“Smart cards were meant to help people, not cost them extra”.

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