What’s this? Cheaper bus fares!?
Metro Mayor Dan Norris is urging people to try out public transport with the news that passengers will benefit from cheaper single and return fares starting later this month across West of England buses.
All single adult tickets in Bath will be reduced to £2 for adults while returns will cost £3.50. Outside of the city there will also be sizeable cost reductions for adults with a 12-mile single journey dropping from £6.50 to £3.70 and a return from £7.50 to £5.
Children will pay a flat £1 rate across the whole of the West of England.
The new fares will start from 25 September on the vast majority of West of England buses before being introduced across all routes, regardless of operator, by the end of next month.
The Metro Mayor says the new fare package delivers on his pledge for simpler and cheaper bus fares, will help a little towards easing the cost-of-living crisis for locals, and will go a long way to addressing the big challenges on the buses at present, with passenger numbers 25% down on pre-pandemic levels.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “It’s time to get on board for new fares. I’m delighted to be able to introduce this package to immediately to offer a small helping hand to people facing a crippling cost-of-living crisis.
At a time when the challenges on the buses are so huge, this is a real opportunity to create that virtuous cycle of more fare income to reinvest in our bus network which in turn will mean better buses for everyone. So my big message to local people is: please take advantage of this and take your children out for just £1.
The more journeys you make, the more you will be helping us together to build the local bus system we both need and deserve. It’s also so very vital if we are going to meet our super ambitious local 2030 net-zero targets”.
The scheme is a joint initiative from the West of England Combined Authority, North Somerset Council and the bus operators, including Firstbus, Stagecoach West and others.
Doug Clarinbold, Managing Director of First West of England said: “With rising living costs, we are delighted that the West of England Authority and North Somerset Council have been able to provide operators in the region with financial support that enables significant reductions to these key West of England fares.
Passenger numbers on our services are still significantly down on pre-pandemic levels and we are seeing some of our longer distance services that connect our towns and cities or serve more rural areas facing a particularly difficult time. Lower single, return and day ticket fares will help these services at a time when most things are going up in price. We hope this will encourage more people to use our services so that as we take action to increase driver numbers and improve the reliability of our services, we can accelerate the recovery in bus use across the region”.
Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director of Stagecoach West, said: “Supportive measures to keep fares low can provide an attractive incentive to help attract new passengers onto the bus. It also builds on steps we have already been taking to give local people, including jobseekers, the best value travel we can.
Investment by our West of England combined authority and North Somerset council partners in priority measures is also key to making buses more attractive, keeping them out of congestion, making journeys quicker and more reliable, and reducing operational costs that put pressure on fares.
We look forward to working with Mayor Norris and the Combined Authority to ensure this initiative supports the long-term sustainability of the region’s bus network, which is vital in connecting communities with jobs, education and skills, as well as friends, family, and essential public services”.
- Over 90% of the network including all Firstbus services will use the new fares from this Sunday 25 September
- Other operators have pledged to use the fares by the end of October
- The fares apply to journeys taking place solely in the West of England combined authority area plus North Somerset
- This deal applies to all commercial services including those which are West of England subsidised
- Contracts and arrangements made direct between schools, businesses, councils or organisations and bus companies not available to the general public are subject to different rules