A SCOTRAIL pilot scheme scrapping peak time rail fares has been extended for a further three months, the First Minister has announced.

The ScotRail Peak Fares Removal Pilot has been extended and will now run until the end of September. 

The scheme allows all off-peak fare tickets by ScotRail to be valid for travel all day, seven days a week, meaning fares cost the same amount at any time during the day.

The scheme was initially due to last six months as it was introduced in October last year but was extended until June 28.

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It has now been extended for a second time for another three months.

First Minister John Swinney confirmed the extension to the scheme during a visit to Waverley Station as part of the Levenmouth Rail link opening celebrations.

Swinney said:“The Scottish Government’s ambition to enhance our railways and make public transport easier and more affordable is clear.

The National: John Swinney Image: PAFirst Minister John Swinney made the announcement at Waverly Station in Edinburgh

“We know new rail investment can create real education, business and tourism opportunities and help breathe life into communities.

“This is currently most apparent with the soon-to-open £116m Levenmouth rail link.

“Bold initiatives such as our ScotRail Peak Fares Removal pilot help build on this investment by encouraging more people to switch from car and opt to use the train.

“By extending this pilot for a further three months, we can better understand its impacts in terms of encouraging people to choose rail.

“It also helps tackle inequalities by making commuting, day trips and access to leisure activities even more affordable for all.

“I would encourage passengers to use this opportunity, not just for the daily commute but to see all that Scotland has to offer - that might even include a trip on the Levenmouth rail link or a visit to the Fife Expo.

“People already benefitting from the Peak Fares Removal trial should encourage their friends and family to get on board and use it too.”

Joanne Maguire, ScotRail managing director, has said she is delighted about the extension to the scheme and hopes even more people take advantage of the more affordable way to travel.

She said: “The removal of peak fares trial has been a hugely exciting opportunity for Scotland’s Railway to encourage more people across the country to choose rail travel.

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government has decided to extend the trial, and it gives even more people the opportunity to take advantage of more affordable journeys.

“Everyone at ScotRail is working hard to deliver the best possible journey experience for our customers, and encourage people to make travelling by train their mode of transport.”