Rail passengers are getting “less for more” after a 4.8 per cent increase in rail fares last month, says South Scotland MSP Craig Hoy.

The fare increase was announced after the ending of a freeze on rail fares which had been in effect since January 2022.

This is despite reports from last month of there being too few carriages on rail services between North Berwick and Edinburgh, resulting in some commuters being unable to secure a seat or, in some instances, board the train.

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Former East Lothian Councillor Mr Hoy said: “This latest fare hike comes amid worsening rail provision in East Lothian and rising living costs throughout Scotland.

“Having recently met with representatives from Scotrail and Hitachi, I understand that Scotrail are seeking to resolve these issues by hiring new staff and procure a new fleet of trains to service our community as well as address issues at the [Edinburgh] Craigentinny train depot.

“That being the case, it is vitally important that the SNP Government recommits to our local services now Scotrail is in public hands.

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“I will work with Scotrail to ensure rail services in East Lothian suitably meet the needs of local rail users. However, I am clear that the recent shortage of services and reduced number of carriages is not an acceptable level of service.”

Mairi McAllan MSP, cabinet secretary for transport, said: “The Scottish Government rightly made the decision to freeze fares as part of its response to the cost-of-living crisis. While this has now remained in place for around 18 months, it is simply no longer sustainable.

“From 3 July 2023, ScotRail fares increased by 4.8 per cent, compared to 5.9 per cent fares rise across the rest of Great Britain, current RPI of 8.7 per cent and the August 2022 RPI rate of 12.3 per cent.

“This fares rise does not include season tickets and flexi-passes which will remain frozen at current prices, ensuring those who use rail frequently are not discouraged from continuing to do so.

“This below inflation increase means fares remain, on average, lower than across the rest of Great Britain.

“We know that any increase is unwelcome for passengers, therefore we have kept the rise as low as possible to maintain the attractiveness and affordability of rail as a travel option.

“We aim to continue this approach with the peaks fares removal pilot from October this year.”