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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 09:45 GMT
Rail fares to rise by up to 10%
First ScotRail train
Fare increases will come in from January
The cost of travelling by rail in Scotland is to rise by up to 10% from next month, it has emerged.

First ScotRail has defended the move and blamed the increase on a series of factors, including rocketing fuel costs and investment in services.

The higher fare regime is expected to hit off-peak journeys the hardest on some of Scotland's busiest rail routes.

The Rail Passengers Council warned that the increases would not encourage people to travel.

Gordon Dewar, commercial director of First ScotRail, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that only certain times and routes would be affected.

We need to make sure that we're doing the right thing for the business, the right thing for onward investment
Gordon Dewar
First ScotRail

He said the vast majority of fares going up in January would rise by about 4%, with some fares unchanged.

Mr Dewar said: "We need to balance the books when we're running a commercial organisation, as we are with First ScotRail.

"We need to make sure that we're doing the right thing for the business, the right thing for onward investment.

"We are still discounting these fares at typically 35% to 40% less than the full fares."

Booking worries

He stressed that the benefits could be seen in improved stations, trains and services.

Robert Samson, from the Rail Passengers Council, said: "We are concerned about the large increases in cheap-day returns on certain routes.

"Some passengers cannot book in advance and like to make journeys on the spur of the moment.

"These increases will not encourage people to travel, and overall performance over the last 12 months in terms of punctuality and reliability has remained static."

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