MORE people from the west of Scotland are visiting shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, sales figures show.

They come as the world's biggest arts festival, which officially launches its 2014 programme today, confirmed a Glasgow-based ticket office will again be in place this year.

Figures show sales at the Glasgow box office for Fringe shows increased 38% last year from 2012, when it was first launched.

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The number of prepaid tickets collected from the city's Queen Street Station increased 16%.

The Fringe saw a significant increase in the total number of customers from the G, ML and PA postcodes.

Ticket sales from those postcodes - denoting the Glasgow, Lanarkshire, and Paisley areas - rose 14% between 2012 and 2013.

The figures have encouraged the festival organisers, who for years have been hoping to attract more ticket buyers from the west end of the M8, to again set up the box office at Queen Street Station. It will be in place for the third consecutive year.

The Fringe is also likely to benefit from visitors to the Commonwealth Games, which are being held in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3.

A spokesman for the festival said: "We are part of the Culture 2014 programme that accom­panies the Commonwealth Games and are very excited by the opportunities the Games coming to Glasgow presents for us."

The Fringe's box office at Queen Street Station will open on July 25 and remain open throughout the run of the Fringe until August 25.

The box office will be on the main concourse of the station and will be open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from August 1 to 25.

Glasgow-based audiences will be able to buy tickets in person and pick up tickets booked in advance online or by telephone before catching a train to the capital.

Kath Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, which runs the Fringe, said: "We are delighted to be working alongside First ScotRail to bring the box office to Queen Street Station.

"We know there is demand for it in Glasgow so it makes perfect sense to offer this service again to help audiences from west Scotland to make their Fringe experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.

"We are incredibly grateful to First ScotRail for giving us the space in Queen Street Station to provide this facility and connect audiences from across Scotland with everything that is happening at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year."

Steve Montgomery, managing director of First ScotRail, said: "We are delighted to again host the Fringe's box office at Queen Street Station.

"We know a lot of our customers travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh during August will want to take in some shows at what is the biggest and most exciting festival in the world. First ScotRail is committed to helping make the experience as smooth as possible."

In 2013 there were 45,464 performances of 2871 shows, making the Fringe the world's largest arts festival.

The independence debate is expected to dominate many of the festival's shows this year.

The Yes-supporting National Collective is staging its own show, National Collective Presents, from August 7 to 23, with performers including singer-songwriter and political activist Billy Bragg.