Background to the Fair Fares Review

On 20 August 2021, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party entered into the Bute House Agreement (BHA), a shared policy programme spanning five years to build a green economic recovery from COVID, respond to the climate emergency and create a fairer country.

Amongst other policy commitments, the BHA confirmed that the Scottish Government would:

commission a Fair Fares Review to ensure a sustainable and integrated approach to public transport fares. This will look at the range of discounts and concessionary schemes which are available on all modes including bus, rail, and ferry. The review will consider options against a background where the costs of car travel are declining and public transport costs are increasing, exacerbating the impact on those living in poverty.”

Due to the continuing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the emergence of the Omicron variant and the consequent restrictions and guidance on travelling and using public transport, the Fair Fares Review did not commence until Spring 2022 by which time the Cost-of-Living crisis had emerged.

Following the onset of the Cost of Living crisis, the First Minister`s Policy Prospectus, Equality, Opportunity, Community: New leadership - A fresh start, was published in April 2023 which includes a commitment that by 2026 we will have advanced towards a public transport system which is more accessible, available and affordable, with the cost of transport shared more equally across business, government and society. This strategic direction has underpinned our approach to the Fair Fares Review.