Following a push by a consumer rights activist, SCOTRAIL will now fall under the anti-ripoff law.
George Eckton – who has campaigned for passengers to be informed about the cheapest ticket options – said the move would help hold the rail operator to account.
A host of taxpayer-backed organizations will need to consider the impact of major decisions on Scots under legislation passed by the SNP government.
But last year ministers faced a backlash after ScotRail’s parent company, Scottish Rail Holdings, was not included on the list, meaning the operator was able to evade additional obligations.
George said: “It is good news that ScotRail will now be subject to an excise tax.
“In theory, this should be another pillar in efforts to ensure fair advertising, clear pricing for all ticket types and accessible sale of all tickets.
“This should not only benefit vulnerable consumers, but all consumers and users of Scottish railways.”
The protection measure falls under the Consumer Scotland Act 2020.
A clause requires designated public bodies to consider “the impact” of policy decisions on Scottish consumers, with “a desire to reduce harm to them”.
Scottish Rail Holdings was absent from the draft list drawn up for a Scottish Government consultation – although the call for comment was launched six months after it was confirmed as ScotRail’s parent company.
The original list included the ferry company Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, the nationalized Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Scottish Water and Crown Estate Scotland.
In a response to respondents to the consultation, the Scottish Government confirmed that the scope would be extended.
It said: “Overall, there was broad support for the requirement that the duty apply proportionately to all public bodies.” The Scottish Government will now push ahead with the necessary legislation for this duty to come into force on 31 December 2023.”
We said that starting next month, rail fares would increase by 4.8 percent.
The fare hike will come into effect on July 3 in what unions yesterday described as “reckless”.
Fares have been frozen since January last year, three months before ScotRail was nationalised.
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