Boosting bus passenger’s views on value for money: multi-operator tickets and Reading freeze

11 January 2016

The annual ritual of the rail fares rise in January is not echoed in the bus world. Fares change more frequently and there is not an overall regulated figure to latch on to and track.

We tend to focus on passenger views on value for money (my expensive is your cheap maybe!) as we think this gives a much more nuanced view on the value that consumers perceive from their decisions. The Department for Transport does track fares and the latest figures show that fares rose, on average, by 3.1 per cent in England (outside London) in the year to September 2015. No-one actually pays an average fare so these figures no doubt mask wide variations on individual routes.

Bus passengers outside London clearly would like to see value for money ratings improve. The price of the ticket is part of this equation but reliability, frequency and information are key parts of the VFM equation.

So really good to see that the big bus groups have finally got it together to offer smart ticketing across companies. We will be looking at the details of this oddly low key announcement from First Group but it looks promising and a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile Reading buses have announced a handy freeze on some fares that will be a warm glow to otherwise chilled passengers.

Let’s have more of this please!

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