ScotRail does not display the cheapest fares for some journeys on its website

The rail operator, taken over by the Scottish government on Friday, only displays the price of one-way tickets for one-way trips, even when buying a return would be cheaper.

This despite the UK’s official National Rail Inquiries (NRE) website telling passengers if return fares are cheaper than one-way fares.

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Ironically, the website then provides a link for customers to book the cheapest ticket through the ScotRail website.

Return tickets can be cheaper than one-way tickets on some ScotRail one-way journeys. Photo: John Devlin

Scottish Government Transport Scotland said ScotRail should do more to ensure passengers get the best fare.

After Scotland raised the issue on Sunday, ScotRail said its website operator was “now working on a fix”.

The ScotRail Anomaly includes journeys between multiple stations in Glasgow, Britain’s largest city rail network outside London.

These include an off-peak one-way ticket between Hyndland in the West End and Queen Street, for which a single ticket costs £2.70 but an off-peak return ticket costs just £2.40.

Refunds to delayed passengers increased in the year before the pandemic lockdown. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

At Shettleston in the East End, a one-way ticket to Queen Street costs £3 while an off-peak return ticket costs £2.70.

On the south side, Mount Florida to Glasgow Central is £2.60 one way but £2.40 off-peak return.

The anomaly is understood to be due to the fact that these returns have been heavily discounted historically to encourage off-peak travel.

There are even cheaper return tickets on some routes for travel between 11am and 3pm on weekdays, but these are not shown on the ScotRail or NRE websites when booking one-ways – the Hyndland one – Queen Street costs just £1.80.

Other super off-peak day return tickets include £10.40 between Edinburgh and Glasgow compared to the off-peak one-way fare of £14.

One passenger said: “The problem is that passengers who buy single tickets for certain off-peak journeys are charged more by the ScotRail website than if they buy the same journey from ScotRail via the NRES website, which will allocate a round-trip off-peak when it is cheaper than a one-way ticket.

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Passenger watchdog Transport Focus said: ‘We have asked ScotRail to investigate why this happened and we are looking to make sure this issue is resolved.

Senior Stakeholder Manager Robert Samson said: “It is important that passengers have the certainty that they can find the best deal when buying their ticket.

“Finding out that you could have saved money if only you had known where to look hurts trust between passengers and rail companies.”

Fares campaigner George Eckton, who petitioned Holyrood for passengers to ‘obtain information on the cheapest possible fare of course’, said: ‘It’s the right thing to do for a service now directly provided by ministers. to the public the cheapest fare available.

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: ‘We want more people to choose to travel by train on our publicly controlled and operated railway, so we need to be sure they can book a ticket easily and that they got the best rate.

“ScotRail Trains Limited will need to explore what more can be done to achieve this.”

ScotRail’s Commercial Director, Lesley Kane, said: “We want our customers to travel quickly, easily and on the most economical ticket possible.

“We are committed to ensuring rail fares are affordable and customers have easy access to the best fares.

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