The Scottish Tories have demanded SNP ministers copy the UK Government and introduce a £2 cap on single bus fares to match discounts south of the border.

Transport spokesman Graham Simpson also demanded a tap-in tap-out payment system for rail across Scotland similar to the pay-as-you-go ticketing in parts of England. 

The £2 bus fare cap was introduced outside London in January 2023 to help with the cost of living crisis and repeatedly extended because of its popularity.

It is currently due to run until the last day of 2024.

Speaking at the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen in a session about making public transport easier, Mr Simpson urged Scottish ministers to follow England’s lead.

He said: “Bus fares are rising and there is great disparity across Scotland. You can get a bus in Edinburgh for £2 bus fare but a single from Huntly to Elgin can set you back £10.40.

“In January 2023, that £2 bus fare cap was introduced in England to protect and improve bus services south of the border. The scheme provides discounted travel across 5000-plus routes and has been applied across 130 companies.

“Replicating the fare cap would reinvigorate public transport use in Scotland, help the economy and the environment and protect against the decline of much-needed services.”

He said pay-as-you-go rail ticketing was being rolled out across the South East, with pilots coming to the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

“What could be easier than using your bank card to tap on and out, with the system working out the best fare? Again, this is happening in England.”

The Central Scotland MSP also proposed a “multi-modal smart ticketing” across Scotland which would let people pay seamlessly for travel by train, bus, tram and hire bikes.

The SNP-Green Government made bus travel free for under-22s in January 2022.