SCOTLAND’S four main rail unions, the STUC and environmental groups have joined forces to call for peak fares to be scrapped following a pilot.

The Scottish Government announced last year that all train fares on publicly-owned ScotRail will be the same regardless of the time of day, with a trial starting in October initially due to end in the spring.

The pilot was extended to end on June 28, but Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop has now been urged to make the move permanent.

Transport Scotland said the Government will “carefully consider” the impact of the pilot after it ends.

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The heads of Aslef, the TSSA, the RMT and Unite, the assistant general secretary of the STUC, and senior figures from Friends of the Earth Scotland, the Just Transition Partnership, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and Transform Scotland have now written to Hyslop.

The letter said: “We pay tribute to the introduction of the pilot in the first place.

“As trade unionists, environmental campaigners and passenger champions, we are clear however that peak train fares must be scrapped permanently.

“This is a position that we have taken since the start of the pilot.

“The overall approach by the Government must be to make fares as affordable as possible. This is what will encourage and incentivise the Scottish travelling public on to trains and away from private car travel.”

The National: A pilot scheme which scrapped peak fares on ScotRail services is set to end in JuneA pilot scheme which scrapped peak fares on ScotRail services is set to end in June

Peak rail fares, they claim, are an “unfair tax on workers” and present a barrier to rail travel for many.

Making the pilot permanent will help on both climate change and the economy, the group said.

“If you were to restore peak fares it would be a retrograde step that would send exactly the wrong message at the wrong time,” the letter added.

“We urge you to do the right thing, scrap peak fares permanently to help Scotland meet its climate targets, grow the economy sustainably and help workers by ending this unfair tax on them.”

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A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: “The peak fares removal pilot has been extended by three months and will now operate until June 2024.

“This extension allows for more data to be collected on any change to travel patterns, which will help to inform the final evaluation.

“The Scottish Government will carefully consider the impact of the pilot and the long-term sustainability of such a proposition before committing to any further measures after June 2024.

“This trial is an exciting and unique opportunity to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and choose a safe, reliable, and green form of public transport.”