Probe into concerns ScotRail’s ticket machines conceal cheaper fares

In the fray: The ticket machine at Nairn Train Station.

MSP David Stewart is demanding answers from ScotRail amid concerns some train passengers could be getting ripped-off by ticket machines.

Concerns have been raised some customers could be paying over the odds for some journeys because the ticket machines, in some instances, do not display the lowest fare on their main display screen.

It has been brought to Mr Stewart’s attention that off-peak passengers travelling on the 09.17 service from Nairn-Inverness are being prompted by the machine to pay the higher peak-time travel fare of £9.

Mr Stewart is concerned many people do not know that in order to get the cheaper valid off-peak fare they must do their own manual search on the machine for their destination.

He has been made aware that it is only after 09.15 – just two minutes before the 09.17 arrives on the platform – that the machine re-calibrates to display on its main display screen the cheaper £6.50 off-peak return ticket fare.

Mr Stewart said: “This would appear to be a glitch and it must be catching people out, particularly those who are not used to using computerised touch-screens. They may not know the ticket price showing on the machine’s main display screen is not in fact the cheapest ticket available to them.

“The bottom line is passengers should not have to go digging around the ticket machine to get the cheapest fare. It should be staring them in the face. That’s like a corner shop selling cheaper Mars Bars at the back of the store. I’m calling for answers from ScotRail and Transport Scotland because this situation flagged up to me in Nairn could be happening across Scotland. Passengers are using the ticket machines to save time, but as this situation in Nairn would appear to show, the surest way to save money is to walk into the ticket office and buy your ticket in person.”