Bus fares go up too.. let’s talk about it.. 

18 December 2018

In all the blizzard of publicity around rail fare rises it often gets forgotten that bus fares move around as well! Not tied to particular dates, the bus industry can adjust fares when it wants. 

That said, it seems odd that First Group – among others – is raising bus fares on January 2, the day when rail fares rise. I understand some local authorities want to see all public transport fares change on same day, but I am not sure really that this is the best day to pick! Could there be a worst day to do this on?  Or, with greater attention on the cost of rail fares, is it considered a good day to bury bad news for bus users? 

It’s also interesting to note that ‘mobile’ ticket prices are frozen while cash (and contactless?) fares are going up. Not a dramatic difference – for example, a Manchester FirstDay ticket costs £4.80 if bought via the App but £5 from the driver. A weekly is £16 via mTickets and £17 from the driver. The ability to pay with contactless is also spreading fast. All good news as it reduces the barriers to travel, although I can’t help thinking contactless will gradually spread more widely given how well it works in London. 

The pursuit of cheaper methods for collecting fares is clearly a rational thing for any bus provider to do. It also pushes passengers gently towards the more value for money tickets not currently available for rail passengers. First Group claims nearly one in five bus passengers are now using mobile ticketing, but there has been little noise around this with regards to social (and digital) exclusion – not all sections of the travelling public have equal access to a smart phone. 

Transport Focus will cover this issue, among others, at our forthcoming series of seminars around the country following up on our research: 


More details on the seminars soon.

Like the blog? Please share on your social channels.