Travel Industry News 18th September 2023

Peak rail fares are set to be scrapped from the 2nd October 2023 in a pilot scheme; the Scottish Government has announced.

The six-month trial is funded by the Scottish Government, to make public transport more accessible and affordable, and encourage people to ditch the car and travel by train. We recognise that the rail fare structure can seem complicated and often a barrier for customers, and this trial will make rail fares simpler, and often cheaper. Simplicity and affordability are key considerations in travel decisions, and we are looking forward to offering both to our customers during this trial. Customers will be able to travel at any time of the day on Off-Peak tickets, enjoying huge savings. For example, train tickets for travel during traditional peak times between Edinburgh and Glasgow will drop from £28.90 to £14.90.

We anticipate the trial will encourage more people to use ScotRail services, with cheaper fares early in the day attracting more people to consider travelling by rail.

We will have every available carriage out on the network. For the start of the trial we will have seven or eight carriage services operating during traditional peak hours on the Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High route, and additional carriages between Airdrie and Balloch, and on the Argyle Line. We do not have any more diesel trains to increase capacity on the routes where they operate, for example between Glasgow/Edinburgh and Aberdeen/Dundee/Inverness.

The ambitious project, which is a first of its kind in the UK rail industry, will support the Scottish Government’s ambition to achieve net zero, providing more people with the opportunity to use trains as their primary form of transport.

Elizabeth line stations and tunnelled sections to have mobile coverage by next year

Transport for London has published an updated on the rollout of high-speed mobile coverage across its network.

Last summer TfL outlined plans for mobile phone coverage on the London Underground, and the body has now confirmed that the first Elizabeth line stations will get 4G and 5G coverage by the end of the year (Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street), with all stations and tunnelled sections on the line going live by the end of spring 2024.

Coverage has also been extended to the ticket halls and Central line sections between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road, with further parts of the Northern and Central lines set to go live in the coming months, including Goodge Street, Chancery Lane and Bank stations.

Updated: Competition watchdog issues initial outcome of opposing Heathrow price cap appeal

The competition watchdog has released the initial outcome of opposing appeals by both Heathrow and airlines into a Civil Aviation Authority ruling over charges the airport can impose.

The price cap was criticised by both the airport and airlines after being published in a CAA consultation. It covered charges for the price control period ending December 2026. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now set a deadline of October 17 to decide whether to allow or dismiss the appeals after finding that the CAA must “reconsider” any errors made.

The CMA said: “While it is not possible now to quantify any changes in the price cap that could result from CAA reconsideration of these aspects, we would expect any such changes to have only a small net impact relative to the CAA’s overall price control decision, particularly as they may work in opposite directions.”

This came in a summary of provisional findings by the CMA after Heathrow and British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic  appealed a decision from the aviation regulator, which detailed how much the airport operator can charge airlines, per person, for using its services.

Travel news as a glance:

  • United opens its largest Club lounge at Denver airport.
  • Avanti West Coast completes first phase of Pendolino upgrades.
  • Lufthansa to launch routes to Seattle and Minneapolis-St Paul.
  • Emirates to operate only A380s to Sydney
  • Singapore Airlines returns to Brussels.