scotland (4K)
The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

ScotRail Free Ticket Offer

We are indebted to Graeme Macfarlan, Product and Promotions Manager for ScotRail for the following statistics and conclusions associated with the free ticket offer.

The initial distribution of leaflets was 50,000, (this might have been the printed quantity and ScotRail's intention but given the numbers of surplus leaflets one has to question this as the actual distributed figure, see comment below; Editor) and there was an uptake of 1649 returned vouchers which represents a 3.3% redemption level.

The questionnaire contained within the leaflet provided the following responses; main reason for travel was Shopping / Day Out (77%), visiting Friends/Relatives (17%), business trip (5%) and School / College (1%), 13% of those receiving the vouchers travelled alone.

64% of respondents stated that they would still have travelled in the absence of the free ticket offer, whilst the remainder (36%) stated that they would not have travelled. 7% of users were first time travellers with ScotRail. In total 13% of all respondents (212) took along at least one fare paying passenger.


Although the redemption levels (3.3%) were above the average for this type of exercise the abstraction levels were a cause of concern. Clearly these results should be viewed with caution as they are based on a sample but there was no significant volume / income growth during the period of the offer which would suggest that the abstraction levels are robust. Given this we need to consider carefully if and in what form another offer of this nature would take to avoid revenue dilution.

The Friends involvement in this promotion.

The Friends became actively involved in this promotion when approached by ScotRail to find a means of distributing leaflets in Kyle (!) and surrounding areas, It then became apparent that the distribution system chosen by ScotRail left huge gaps within the communities and so the Friends, persuaded, aided and abetted by Frank Roach, assisted in distributing leaflets to Post Offices from Dingwall through to Muir of Ord and the Black Isle and persuaded public outlets in Alness and Invergordon to display the leaflet.

Given the excellent car parking facilities at Invergordon, Alness, Dingwall and Muir of Ord coupled to the strong Community Associations/Councils and people's acceptance of the fact that they have to use their car to get anywhere before they start their journey it is a shame that ScotRail didn't seek local advice as to how to make a better impact with this offer.

For example the Editor could have included the leaflet into the Community Council newsletter that he produces and distributes to 650 households.