BOSSES at Scotrail have been blasted for the “Scrooge” like decision to scrap their popular kids go free scheme.

From January 2, the company, operated by Dutch transport behemoth, Abellio, will instead offer a “Kids for a Quid” deal, with parents coughing up a pound to take their offspring on a trip.

An insider told the Daily Record: “Commuters already pay over the odds for a service that has been blighted with delays and train cancellations.

“Now Abellio are binning one of the few things that put a smile on travellers’ faces — being able to take the kids anywhere in the country free for a day out.”

The current scheme allows anyone buying an off-peak return to opt for a kids go free ticket and take up to two children with them.

The rail firm said the Kids for a Quid ticket will be available with almost all adult ticket types, and can be used with up to four children.

Unlike kids go free, it’ll no longer be a “group fare” ticket, which means season ticket and flexipass holders can take up the offer, without having to buy a brand new adult off-peak ticket.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson, Colin Smyth said it was “sad to see bosses at Scotrail acting like Scrooge by taking free rail travel away from children across Scotland”.

He added: “The kids go free scheme is a fantastic initiative which encourages families to use public transport and not be out of pocket for doing so.

“This rip-off fare rise will see passengers handing out even more money to a private company which is failing them time and time again.”

Manuel Cortes from the TSSA trade union said the firm had earned his “Scrooge of the year award”.

Cortes said: “Abellio Scotrail bosses have excelled themselves this year. They have achieved the worst ever results for service since records began, they have the highest ever passenger dissatisfaction rate and our members are fed up of mad management reorganisation decisions which means they are more overstretched than ever before. But this decision to slap fares on kids earns them my Scrooge of the year award."

“One of the last decent things you could say about Scotrail was their policy to let kids go free. What a great way to treat our children – and their hard pressed parents. But subsidising Scottish children’s fares is not a priority for Abellio.”

A Scotrail spokesman said: “We are committed to providing our customers with the opportunity to travel across our services and the Kids for a Quid offer is available on a wider range of adult tickets.

“This provides families with the opportunity to travel throughout the country, and take advantage of free entry to the many attractions that we have been able to secure.”

Scotrail have had a difficult few days, after staff shortages brought a number of services to a halt.

Replacement bus services were being put on for travellers yesterday and over the weekend.

Mick Hogg from the RMT union said the disruption was down to the overtime ban they have in place on Scotrail, with members refusing to work overtime or on rest days.

“It’s absolute carnage out there,” he said.

Hogg said he had some sympathy with passengers caught up in the chaos but said Scotrail were to blame for “unfair” employment practices.

Scotrail disputed the trade union official’s version of events and said the disruption was due to crew training ahead of a new timetable being introduced next Sunday.

A spokesman said: “We’re sorry to our customers who have experienced disruption to their journey.

“The majority of the impact is a result of our final push to deliver the December timetable improvements.”