TSSA has challenged Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson to offer free travel on trains to the same groups who currently receive free travel on buses.
The union argues that giving free bus passes to under-19s as well as over-60s will discourage a significant proportion of the Scottish population from using trains, creating a “two-tier transport system”.
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said,
"We support the move to free travel for those identified under the scheme. But we don’t understand why it hasn’t been extended to include rail services too.
"Transport Secretary Matheson has noted that the recovery of rail usage at least in the short term, may well be supported by leisure travel over business due to the predicted prevalence of home working. It makes no sense to price families off the trains by offering free travel only on the buses.
"Returning passengers to our railways after the Covid-19 pandemic will require Scottish Government support. Reducing the numbers who will travel on the trains by offering financial incentives to travel by bus instead is just wrong-headed. It’s time to support our railway industry which has done so much to keep the country moving in the last year."
ScotRail has operated a “Kids for a Quid” scheme since 2019 which replaced the Kids Go Free offer. The discount only covers children up to the age of 15, meaning parents travelling with 16 to 19-year-olds would pay full adult price on the train compared with their travelling free on the bus.