12 February 2013

Its just not fare

Today was one of those day I am sure that bus drivers hate. I knew that the bus would be late this morning and indeed the 50 turned up just over 5 minutes late. The reason was of course that Monday was the first working day after Plymouth Citybus put their fares up again.

As is so often the case some people get bigger increases than others.  My colleague on the journey from Keswick Crescent to Derriford saw her return fare up from £2.00 to £2.30 which is quite a hike.

As always passengers dont understand why their fares are going up even though they see their own expenses going up by more than inflation too. Plymouth Citybus have though printed out posters which are being displayed on all their buses showing where the money is going.
1033 1032







The cost increases chart is quite a shocker. I knew fuel was a big increase due to the various changes in tax rebates etc but didnt realise quite how much insurance had gone up as well and even the 12% increase in the cost of new buses.

Of course all of this will be wasted on most passengers who just see it as greedy bus companies milking their passengers by daring to try and make a profit from them. This is one area I have never really understood. Why do we get so upset at the buses being run for profit when other public services are also ran by businesses to create profit.

Buses are an essential public service we keep hearing so should be ran as a service rather than to make money. OK, but everytime we turn on a tap the water company makes a profit. We switch on a light and the electricity company makes a profit. Surely both of these are more essential than buses? Bread, milk, other basic food stuffs all make profits for the likes of Tesco but nobody seems to mind.

So what do bus companies have to do? Will they ever win this argument? Should they even bother trying?

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  1. I really doubt bus companies will ever win this argument. I agree wholeheartedly that no-one seems to be so fussed about increases in the price of food; yes we see the odd news story every now and again which is always one sided and exaggerated though I think it's a sad but true reality to say bus companies do seem to be a 'soft target' in just about every respect; they always get criticized for just about everything. Seeing as many passengers are unhappy about the fare changes (there were a few grumbles on Sunday) as nice as it is to detail where your fare goes, it appears to have had little effect on customers. If I was Citybus MD, I'd detail exactly why fares are increasing each and every time, but there would be part of me that would say 'is there much point'?

    I personally think reducing a Child Dayrider to £2.90 instead of £3 is stupid - I witnessed a teen get on the 20 on Sunday who handed the driver 3 £1 coins, and he didn't have the 10p change! The driver told him 'hopefully I'll get you 10p in a minute' - even the driver thought it was pretty stupid! Do they really think young people will sit there counting out £2.90 in change or just give the driver £3.

    And £2.30 return from Keswick Crescent to Derriford...?! £2.30 adult return from Plympton to Mudge Way is also very steep.

    The fare tables aren't that easy to find on the website; how about remove the route map column next to the timetables as it really doesn't look good having maps for about three services, and replace it with a 'fare table' column next to each timetable. Or, they could draw out 'proper' route maps in Google Maps like Graham did here a few years ago to detail route changes.

    Maybe even create a 'fare generator' - you'd put in where you're going to/from, single/return, how many people (adults, children, etc), and it would generate the fare. Would involve a bit of work though would be a great addition!

  2. Ever heard of 'lies, damn lies and statistics?'

    The data can be manipulated to show what they want it to...

  3. This certainly makes me realise what exceptional value my FirstMonth Plymstock ticket (you discussed recently) is.

  4. Sorry Graham, but I don't entirely agree with your comments.

    Citybus made £18.9 million in 2011/2012, 14million journeys, with a 12% increase in passengers numbers and you think by increasing these fares that they aren't greedy?

    They are. I'm an avid Citybus supporter, I can afford these bus fares, but it pains me to see individuals complaining on their Facebook page. I'm lucky enough to live a considerable distance out which gives my ticket 'more value'.

    Citybus is now in the hands of a private company, it's no longer Council owned and aimed at providing the people of Plymouth with a reliable bus service, it is now a private business with the purpose of making money to keep share holders happy, and sadly, the cracks are beginning to show in the general lack of customer satisfaction, un-reliable services for the prices being paided and un-happy drivers.

  5. Is it me, or do you add that up to 100.2%??

    1. Yes,it did when i went to school. There was probably some rounding up/down of the actual figures and then the total wasn't rechecked to confirm 100%.

  6. Anon at 16:16. Yes turnovr maybe £18.9m byt that is not profit. You have to make a prfoit to reinvest and have a business at all.

  7. Anonymous at 18:52 is correct turnover of £18.9M not profit which includes their Citycoach and Car workshop turnover. Makes you laugh really profit for a bus company is a dirty word it would seem. Tesco, EDF, South West Water etc, all make profits to a greater or lesser extent. I believe that SSW and EDF increased their prices above the rate of inflation. Yet we are still buying the product. How many cries have there been on here for new buses. Can't have new buses without investment. Investors will not invest in a company where they do not stand a chance of a return on their money. Companies have to make a profit to survive, the argument would be what level of profit becomes excessive. At least Citybus were up front with their increase. I can't recall any bus company going to the lengths that Citybus have gone to to advertise and explain the increase. Readers of this blog should look at fares in similar size cities for a comparison. Come on readers from outside of Devon, let us know what your local bus companies charge.

  8. people bitch about paying 3.25 for a return from town to say derriford or southway etc. try doing the same journey there and bk in a taxi. be a damn sight more than 3.25!! at least when the bus is stuck in traffic the meter dont go up like in a taxi! people today seem to want everything for nothing!

  9. I once paid £8 for a taxi one evening from the Train Station to Plympton for 4 people which was just under £8 - not bad at all! I'm not going to say the company name as this is a blog not a promoting/free advertising website. I do think shorter journeys are quite expensive, being brutally honest I walk to/from Mudge Way and have done for quite a while - £1.50 single/£2.30 return for 5/6 stops in my mind is pretty extortionate. £3.30 return from Plympton for an adult in my opinion is just about right - the £3 return was a bit of a bargain.

    1. you say the taxi was £8, then say it was less than £8.

    2. Typo - it was £8! Annoyingly I did spot that though in true tradition after I clicked 'publish'!

  10. I think the idea of fares throughout the country is to penalize those on short trips. It goes without saying however (as the poster of 16:16 that travelling on PCB is alot cheaper on, onger distances.

  11. Not all fares have gone up,some have gone down For example City Centre - Wolsely Rd used to be 2.80 return, its now 2.30 return


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