Councillor warns First over bus fare increases
THE latest fare hike by First Bus has been condemned as a "bad move".
The company is going to put up a number of adult and child fares on April 1, by between 10p and 30p.
First has blamed increased fuel costs and reduced government funding for the rises.
But Bristol City Council's executive member for transport Tim Kent says they're "unjustified".
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He criticised the rise at a meeting of the West of England Partnership this week.
He highlighted that prices were going up despite an increase in passengers, which the council believes is a result of the £78 million Greater Bristol Bus Network Project.
Mr Kent said: "I am very disappointed in First once again increasing prices for single and return tickets in the city, which means in many parts of the city a return ticket will be more expensive than an all-day ticket – a perverse pricing structure.
"While we accept there are some increased costs in operating public services we have also seen an increase in passengers which has increased revenue take. I believe there is no justification for these increases.
"In Bristol we are exploring ways in which we can have increased control over fares charged for public transport in the city. It is clear that we need to accelerate the introduction of a smart card and link this directly to cheaper and faster travel if we are to continue the growth in passengers on public transport. In particular I wish to see cheaper travel for younger people.
"We will be reaching out to bus companies to work with us on this over the next few months but we are also planning to approach Government for additional powers if that is what is required."
First announced the latest increases this week, although a number of the loyalty tickets such as FirstDay and FirstWeek will be frozen.
Regional commercial and business growth director Marc Reddy said: "We regret some fares have had to be increased, however we have done what we can to keep the changes as small as possible, and have taken deliberate steps to freeze the cost of popular Adult FirstDay Bristol tickets. As part of the fare review we are changing the rules regarding the use of our season tickets, to allow our regular customers to travel further within the region at weekends for no extra cost to themselves. This means that a customer in possession of a First Week, Month or Annual ticket will, for instance, be able to travel to Bath, Wells, Weston or beyond."