Last week, ScotRail removed peak-ticket prices from its services as part of a six month trial, allowing passengers to pay reduced, off-peak fares whatever time of the day they travel. Consequently, ticket prices on most routes will fall, enabling a passenger to travel during a traditional peak time between Edinburgh and Glasgow for £14.90, reduced from a previous price of £28.90. 

Scotland thus becomes the latest country to reduce ticket prices for rail travellers in order to encourage more environmentally friendly transport options. 

In both Spain and Germany, similar schemes have proved popular, boosting passenger numbers on the rail networks in both countries.

In polling conducted in Scotland last week, we at Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ found Scottish voters are overwhelmingly in favour of ScotRail’s decision to remove peak ticket prices.

At the outset, Scottish voters hold generally favourable views of ScotRail itself. 46% hold a favourable view of the company, against only 17% who hold an unfavourable view of it.

This positive view may be rooted in a perception that ScotRail provides a good quality of service. 43% of Scottish voters believe ScotRail delivers consistent and timely service, though a sizeable 34% believe it does not.

However, a plurality of Scots’ also think ScotRail services are unreasonably priced. 47% do not believe ScotRail is reasonably priced, against 34% who believe that it is.   

Given this attitude, Scottish voters say they would prefer ScotRail to reduce its prices, rather than improve its service. 49% would prefer ScotRail to reduce its prices whereas 36% would prefer it to improve its services.

As a result, ScotRail’s decision to remove peak ticket prices receives overwhelming support. Two-thirds of Scottish voters (66%) support the decision to remove peak ticket pricing, and only 7% oppose the trial change.

While the Scottish Government says it has budgeted £15 million to cover the cost of the reduction in ticket prices, it remains to be seen what financial impact this trial will have on ScotRail’s budget.

But if scrapping peak ticket prices does help Scottish voters return to train travel in greater numbers (as seen in Spain), Scottish authorities may have the financial and the political leeway to extend the scheme on a permanent basis.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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