Campaigner's Bristol bus fares petition secures city council debate
A CAMPAIGNER who set up a petition to reduce First Bus fares in Bristol has finally secured a full council debate.
Graphic designer Daniel Farr's goal of triggering a debate with 3,500 signatures was left in the balance after it emerged the petition was set up on the wrong web page.
But after switching sites and holding talks with councillors and mayor George Ferguson, Mr Farr announced the debate has been confirmed for March 19.
He told The Post: "After speaking with democratic services last week I wasn't sure which way it was going to go. But I received a call from councillor Jon Rogers and was also notified by Mark Bradshaw – both of whom have been really helpful."
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Mr Farr, 33, will now be permitted to address the council ahead of a 15-minute debate – which can be extended at councillors' discretion.
He said he was preparing for the speech: "I have never done anything like this before, especially in front of so many councillors so it should be interesting."
He added: "A lot of the councillors have been really supportive and I will be continuing with the petition which I hope will reach 4,000 or 5,000."
Councillor Jon Rogers (Lib Dem, Ashley) said: "Dan Farr's campaign to Make Fares Fair has cross-party support in Bristol. His petition has over 3,700 signatures, enough to trigger a council debate on our bus fares. I contacted Democratic Services to support the debate at the next Full Council meeting on 19th March."
Councillor Mark Bradshaw (Labour, Bedminster) added: "Labour backs the Make Fares Fair campaign and applauds the work of Daniel Farr in highlighting the real impact of high bus fares in Bristol.
"The First Bus review must get to the heart of why fares in Bristol, particularly at peak times, are so expensive; the negative impact on passenger numbers and the scope for making bus travel more affordable.
"In Bristol, if you need to travel to work at peak times, with a family or have a complicated journey, you are paying an unnecessary premium to ride on the bus."
A survey conducted in 2011 found that Bristol has some of the highest average bus fares in the UK.
First Bus South West has promises a review of its fares through a public consultation.
Spokeswoman Karen Baxter said: "We have recently announced our intention to hold a review into bus fares and the associated value for money they offer.
"We are in the process of booking various events around the city which will be used as a means of seeking feedback about the fares charged. As soon as these events are finalised we will share the detail of them, encouraging people who use our services – and those who don't – to come along and have their say."