04 September 2007

Fares fair?

Plymouth Citybus put its fares up this week. The move which has been well publicised on all their buses for quite a while now seems to have been introduced with little fuss and complaint. Perhaps this is because the company has put such detailed information on its buses in plenty of time for the change. We all know that prices change - when we go shopping we see prices change without warning and generally we just put up with it. Bus fares going up though is often a different story. There is always the old argument - if they want us to use the buses then the fares should not go up. We all know that fuel costs have risen but dont understand why the bus company needs more money to pay for fuel. We all expect annual pay rises - but dont understand why the bus company needs more money to pay their staff. You often see people saying that 'they' as tax payers own the buses. Privatisation of bus companies seems to have been missed by many passengers altogether! And of course - buses are always late, drivers are always rude, so why should they pay more.

I have a google news set up which gives me the daily news from across the country and every day there is a story somewhere of a local company daring to put its fares up - and the local press stiring it up. The latest, and most entertaining is Brighton. Brighton seems to be a place where the bus service is pretty good. Plenty of investment in new buses, which many parts of the country would be jealous of. Here are just a few of the comments added to the local news story:

When is the city council going to realise that people will not get out of their cars until public transport is cheap enough to make it worthwhile. Greedy greedy greedy, lets watch passenger numbers fall
Sounds like council and the buses are running a racket.
I don't understand why some of the bus drivers use the size of their vehicle to try to intimidatether road users.
When the company states in it's company report that profits are so good because of the Brighton operation one can see why prices are so high, Brighton is this company's cash cow.Time the council reined in this monster.
Im sure people wouldnt mind paying if buses actually ran on time.
I did not realise I had to buy shares in the bus company to do a trip that would have cost me less than £1.00 to do in the car! No wonder none of us want to give up using our cars. Buses are never on time and are slow.
Why not give up printing the bus timetables at every stop? That'll save a few quid, and they were next to useless anyway. More like a list of "average times", if you're lucky
The B&H bus company is so out of touch. Their adverts are pretty awful too.
I asked a bus driver a few months back 'now we're on this new summer time table, how will it affect the timings of the buses'?His reply was, 'well, they'll still be late, but at different times now'!
Did you lot know that WE, meaning the people of Brighton and Hove actually own the buses?They're paid for through our council tax in subsidies to the PRIVATE company that 'MANAGES' them for us. So technically we've already paid for our ticket before we've even got on!

I did point out that many other areas of the country would be quite jealous of Brighton - a point picked up by one correspondant:

Perhaps the above respondants will stop whinging when they realise what a decent bus company they have when compared to other areas. New buses every year? A nearly 100% low floor fleet? A lot of people in other areas of the country (including mine) would love to have a decent bus company. Ask the poor s*ds who are served by Arriva or First (especially in Bristol). The above should consider themselves dammed thankful.


  1. I note that drivers are being trained about a "Freedom Card". Lost touch on what this is.

  2. In Cambridge we have services run by Stagecoach Cambus, who have about a 75% low floor fleet but are always about 15 mins late

  3. Down here in Torquay we have passengers from all over the country during the summer and we get reactions that go from 'What a crap bus service,' right up to,' I wish we had a bus service like this back home.' Most still turn a little pale when you ask for the fare though.


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