Bus fare increases 'will hit passengers hard'
A RISE in bus fares will hit passengers’ pockets hard, according to people in Oxford.
But a bus users’ group said the rises agreed by the Oxford Bus Company still mean journeys in the city are good value.
The firm is putting up single and return ticket fares from Sunday for the first time in three years, blaming rising fuel prices and an increase in fuel tax for bus operators.
Some fares are increasing by as much as 13 per cent.
The increases affect City, park-and-ride and BrookesBus services and follow rises announced earlier this month on some SmartZone tickets.
Bus Users UK’s Oxford spokesman Hugh Jaeger said: “This is the first increase in fares for three years by Oxford Bus Company and bus journeys in the city will still be extremely good value.
“You can plan the cost of your bus travel over a number of months whereas petrol prices fluctuate – they go up like a rocket and then come down like a feather.”
Mr Jaeger added: “The bus companies are being squeezed by cost increases – these fare rises will hit everyone including pensioners and people travelling to work.
“But apart from walking or cycling, buses remain the most affordable way to travel in Oxfordshire.”
He said he doubted whether the increases would mean more people using their cars instead of buses.
OBC managing director Philip Kirk said: “We have done our best to absorb the overheads but we can’t do it indefinitely.
“Some of our fares are not going up. For example, ‘short hop’ fares will remain unchanged.”
Mr Kirk said single fares on some services would rise by 10p, with the highest increase to a single fare 20p. Some return fares will rise by 20p, with the highest increase to a return fare being 30p.
Oxford Bus Company return fares increasing from £1.60 to £1.80, a 13 per cent increase, include Lodge Hill to Abingdon town centre, Cowley Centre to Blackbird Leys and Oxford city centre to Binsey Lane.
A return from Oxford to Abingdon on the X3 service is increasing from £4 to £4.20, a five per cent increase.
Stagecoach is also planning to increase its fares but has not announced a date.