New ScotRail franchise fares deals to boost growth

The new ScotRail franchise, which launches this week, will offer jobseekers free travel to interviews and a full month’s free travel when they secure a job.

The service, the Scottish Government’s biggest contract, will offer a range of innovative fares products, including expanding the current Club55 concession to benefit those from the age of 50 and advance fares from £5 between any two Scottish cities.

And an exciting special offer available to all passengers will be revealed when Transport Minister Derek Mackay launches the new franchise at Stirling Station on Wednesday morning.

Mr Mackay said:

“The Scottish Government was clear that this franchise should be about more than delivering a rail service – it should be an enabler for growth and an important contributor to communities up and down the country.

“Abellio are getting this off to a great start by offering a huge helping hand to those looking for work, in the form of free travel to two job interviews a month and then free train travel for the first month when they do get a job.

“More people will now be able to benefit from the ScotRail 55+ concessionary scheme, which will now be available from the age of 50, encouraging more people to get out and about on the train, and commuters will be able to book in advance from £5 between any two Scottish cities – that could be Dundee to Glasgow for £5, Inverness to Edinburgh for £5. It’s a really remarkable offer.”

The ScotRail franchise is the biggest single contract let by the Scottish Government and is worth just over £6billion.

The contract is for 10 years but a break clause will allow either side at the halfway point to decide to end the contract in 2022.

Abellio were announced as the new franchise holder last October and committed to invest millions in providing an improved service and superior facilities for passengers and a better deal for staff.

Benefits will include brand new trains for Scotland’s flagship Edinburgh-Glasgow route, refurbished high speed intercity diesel trains with over a third more seats, free wifi on all trains and 23% more carriages across the network.

There will be a new approach to cycling with more than 3,500 parking spaces and bike-hire at a number of stations, and the launch of the Great Scenic Railway Journeys of Scotland campaign to attract more tourists.

A number of stations will receive facelifts or improved facilities and passengers will enjoy an enhanced online service and better integration with other transport modes.

ScotRail staff, who all transfer to the new franchise, have been given a commitment to living wage earnings, which will extend to subcontractors.

The operator will create at least 100 apprenticeships and has guaranteed no compulsory redundancies throughout the life of the contract.

Mr Mackay continued:

“The offer put together by Abellio to secure this franchise is hugely innovative and puts Scotland at the forefront of the rail industry with gains such as the living wage guarantee and the trade union representation at Board.

“A successful railway can become a real contributor to the growth of a nation and Abellio will be reaching into all areas of Scottish public life, with plans including a £1million community engagement fund.

“The launch this week will be the start of a very exciting period for Scotland’s rail services which will benefit the people of Scotland and public life throughout the country.”

Jeff Hoogesteger, CEO Abellio Group, added:

“The Scottish Government told the nation to expect a transformation in rail travel across the country. That may sound quite a task, but it is a true reflection of the Government’s ambition for Scotland’s railway.

“The ball is now very firmly in Abellio’s court, and we have no higher priority than to bring our vision for ScotRail to life.

“Under Abellio, ScotRail will not simply be a train operating company, but a passenger operating company. This means it will play a truly strategic role in the long term development of the nation; providing jobs and support for small businesses in towns and cities across the country; supporting and boosting Scotland’s leisure and tourism industries and connecting businesses and people by improving journey times and the capacity of Scotland’s rail services.”

Notes to editors

Contact: Transport Scotland Press Office: 0141 272 7195
Out of normal office hours: 07760 990 893

Further details of the schemes are available from Abellio –
Cameron Jones – 07766 075 077
Mike Connelly – 07773 547 881

Transport Scotland is the national transport agency for Scotland, delivering the Scottish Government's vision for transport.

More details of the refranchising programme can be found here -

Published 29 Mar 2015