Train ticket costs are soaring after a recent move by the Scottish Government to increase travel prices.
Transport Scotland confirmed the fares increase in a bid to recover rail revenues lost through the pandemic.
And that means a rise of more than £200 for commuters buying season tickets for Dumfries to Glasgow.
Last year the cost was £4,672 and now with the 3.8 per cent increase it will be £4,848 – a rise of £220.
The season ticket for passengers going from Dumfries to Annan will leap £52 to £1,452 this year.
The move has been branded as “brutal” by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
He said: “The latest rise from 24 January is the highest in a decade with peak prices rocketing by an eye watering 38 per cent since the start of 2012.
“The Scottish Government is also pressing ahead with the rise earlier than the UK government, who are waiting until March to hit passengers in England with the same extortionate increase.
“This means services from Lockerbie station on the West Coast Mainline on Avanti and Transpennine Express on the West Coast Mainline and East Coast Mainline services such as LNER won’t increase for another two months.
“It is wildly reckless to hit passengers with this brutal rip-off fare rise while a cost of living crisis rages on.
“South Scotland’s passengers will be forced to cough up extra money, months before the rest of the UK because of the SNP Government’s decision to plow ahead with this increase.
“It’s not as much ScotRail under this Government but ScotFail.
“We need to show some real ambition for the future of ScotRail, so that we can finally put passengers first and build the green, affordable railway service we need.”
The Scottish Government insists it has backed rail franchises throughout the pandemic with more than £1bn including over £450m in the Emergency Measures Agreements but pointed out this level of funding is unsustainable in the longer term.
Graeme Dey said, before stepping down as Minister for Transport, that the government knew any price rise would be unpopular.
“For over a decade the Scottish Government has kept fare increases down by ensuring they are in line with RPI, or even lower in the case of off-peak fares.
“Scottish rail fares remain, on average, 20 per cent lower than across the rest of Great Britain.
“We know that any increase is unwelcome for passengers. However, the changes we are implementing this year are essential to our wider recovery plans.
“We challenged ScotRail to develop robust plans to increase revenue while also seeking to identify efficiency savings that help put rail services on a sustainable footing. It is only right we implement proposals, such as this increase where they make sense given the changes in passenger travel patterns.
“However, we know that there is a lot of work to be done in encouraging people back to rail if we are to achieve our net zero targets.
“That is why we have instructed ScotRail to identify ways to encourage increased demand at the right time, in the right place, as we continue to recover from the pandemic.
“Work also continues on Transport Scotland’s Fair Fares review.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.