10 March 2012

1st April–is it fare?

1aprilWe already knew that the 1st of April was going to be a significant date this year as it turns Cornwall's bus services on their head with First winning significant workloads from Western Greyhound reversing a good few years of routes turning green. Well the 1st April will also be a significant date for the buses in Plymouth too:

“From Sunday 1st April we will be revising our fares. The fare revision will affect both on-bus (from the driver) and off-bus (on the key) fares.

The biggest change for tickets on-bus will be the introduction of our new ‘flat fare’ structure. This is used across many operators nationwide and it is being introduced to make it as simple as possible for the frequent and infrequent passenger, knowing what the fare will be long before boarding the bus.

The simple fare structure will be £2 for a single and £3 for a return journey for adults

This will mean that people travelling longer distances on the bus will see a reduction in the fare they are currently paying. For instance passengers travelling to the city centre from Saltash, Plympton, Plymstock, Southway, Tamerton Foliot and Derriford to name a few will see a 30p reduction for a single journey and a 20p reduction for a return.

We appreciate that people travelling short distances, the introduction of a ‘flat fare’ system would mean a significant increase in cost of travel, so we will be introducing an adult ‘short hop’ fare. This will be automatically calculated from each stop, but in simple terms any journey which used to be charged at the lowest rate will now be classed as ‘short hop’ and be charged at £1.50 single and £2 return. As an example a journey to the city centre from Milehouse, Mutley Plain and Astor Fields will be classed as a ‘short hop

Young persons / student tickets will stay as a ‘flat fare’ of £1.50 single and £2.50 return. The big difference is that the pre 09.30am curfew has been lifted, so young person / student fares are available all day! There will be no short hop fares for young person / students.
Concessionary customers will also be able to purchase young persons / student tickets before 09.30am.

There are more details on the Citybus page HERE

They do offer an explanation for what many will see as a major fares increase:

In the coming months we will be experiencing truly horrific increases in the price of fuel. One which takes effect from the 1st April is a 9p per litre increase in fuel duty tax due to the reduction in the Bus Operators Grant, which is on top of the fuel duty increases taking effect being widely reported in the media for all forms of transport (bar rail and plane). We have also seen the payment we receive for those travelling on the ENCTS (English National Concessionary Travel Scheme) almost frozen in Plymouth and it will be substantially cut in Cornwall. This means all the above cost increases can only be contributed to by those that pay a fare or buy a period pass.

We have done our very best to minimise the effect of the huge cost increases we are being faced with. By revising and making our fare structure to make it much easier to understand we aim to attract a number of new customers to our services and so reduce down this huge cost increase burden for those that pay customer base.

I am sure once the penny drops for passengers there will be a lot of fuss and a lot of angry passengers. I have a pass so wont have to face these increase each day (although I am still waiting to see how much my annual pass will go up, gulp!) but I know the current fare is £1.70 return to Derriford. Assuming this will now be a short hop fare that’s still a 30p increase to £2. My son will miss out as we often catch the bus back from his school in the evenings if I pick him up. Currently I pay £1. This will go up to £1.50 that’s for 4 stops! I guess we will be walking more often now.

We will though benefit from cheaper runs into town and back, although we rarely make these trips I am sure many will be pleased to see their fares reduce.

Citybus will have their work cut out to convince passengers this is fair. I can well understand why fares are going up so much as I know the pressures all bus companies are under this year, and how much worse it is going to get, but most passengers wont understand and probably dont care as they will point to the national transport groups announcing profits. It always seems odd to me that people can accept supermarkets like Tesco making massive profits from selling essentials (like food!), and the utility companies selling water and electricity etc (essentials) at a healthy profit, and even accept that private companies can make money by selling essential healthcare to the public (via the NHS) yet when it comes to buses “they are a public service and no one should make a profit from them”. Anyone care to explain that one?

I certainly wouldn't want to be a bus driver on the 1st April!

Related Links

Elsewhere on the net

  • In the interests of our readers' sanity, an article on the various locations and operations of Newbury's bus stations is postponed until a future blog. Public Transport Experience
  • Are we reporting correctly? Passenger Focus’ second set of survey figures reveals that, on average, 85 per cent of users are satisfied with their bus service. Good news, then. Omnibuses


    1. Short hop fares are anything that used to be charged at £1.30 single and £1.70 return.

      Child fares are very high now; £2.50 just to go somewhere like the Plymstock Broadway from Elburton/Staddiscombe or go to the Ridgeway from anywhere in Plympton, for a Child return this time last year it was £1. Adult returns last year were at £1.30/£1.40 at their lowest rate.

      It's not too much of an increase on their weekly passes though, an extra £1 a week surely isn't too severe an increase.

    2. I used to work for Brighton and Hove bus company, another Go-Ahead stable-mate, some years ago. The flat fare is a common characteristic of Go-Ahead operations and it was proven to be very successful in Brighton. After the initial howls of protest about the increases on shorter distance journeys, things settled down and rider-ship and profits increased significantly. The local population was more pre-disposed towards bus travel though; apparently most car owners used the bus regularly, probably helped by London style frequencies that put Plymouth to shame, horrendous traffic congestion that mitigated against car use, and slick marketing by Go-Ahead. Unlike Plymouth, there was also an absence of competition from another major operator. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    3. I think its time for a public boycott of Plymouth Citybus until such time as they stp ripping people off!

    4. This represents another hefty increase..the 3rd time in 10 months I think against First's one increase. Again this makes my fare to town 30p cheaper on First than Citybus return!! I oiften travel to Mutley of an evening, going out and if I read this right,,the current Citybus fare of £2.00 return will increase to £3.00 (not a short hop??).
      First charge £1.80 return..so guess which company I will use ??
      Do we expect another increase from First ??

    5. So Citybus are introducing a short hop fare on the same day that First Bristol are withdrawing their Three Stop Hop ticket:
      "Following wide-spread abuse of the ticket, which has amounted to customers overriding and travelling beyond the designated three stops, the ticket is being withdrawn from 1 April."

    6. to the person talking about mutley, the fare from mutley to town or vice versa will b 1.50 single or 2.00 return
      hope that clears things up for u

    7. At least Plymouth Citybus have notified bus users and explained the reason behind the fare increases.

      Go North East PCBs sister company have just raised fares, and there was not a single mention of these increases on their website. or indeed very little notice on the buses themselves. The first passengers knew about the hiked fares were when boarding the bus, they had to cough up the extra amount for their journey

      To find out about the fare revision it was necessary to access the Facebook page. I wonder why GNE did not notify customers on the home page or the news page?

    8. To be fair, both Plymouth Citybus and First Devon & Cornwall are excellent in letting us know what is going on and the reasons behind the changes. Compared with a few years ago when Citybus had no internet presence at all it is a massive improvement! We are spoilt down here!

    9. we charge 80p from Mutley to City centre and vice versa too. Service 39

      Derrick Cuff

    10. All very well Target only charge 80p single Mutley to city but not very frequent though are they???

      Out if interest how much is return Hartley Vale to City on 39 ???


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