Fare increase to hit West Midlands Buses

Most bus fares are going up by another 10p on standard tickets and monthly travel cards are set to rise by an extra £2.

National Express West Midlands, the regions larget bus operator, has revealed a price hike for 2016 which see's an adult single ticket rise in price to £2.30 - an increase of 10p from this year's prices. Travelcard's will also see an increase with prices hitting £54.50 for a monthly card and one-week travel cards will be going up by 50p to £17. The popular Daysaver ticket, which allows passengers unlimited use of the companies buses for a working day will rise by 20p to £4.40.

Some of the lesser used tickets - such as the 'adult off-peak short hop' - have had their prices frozen and the company are also introducing an off-peak Daysaver which sees the ticket price cut to £4 if it's bought after 9:30am or at weekends.

Pay-as-you-go ‘Swift’ smart cards, introduced in October, allow passengers to hop on and off buses without handing over any cash. The Oyster-style cards can be topped up at more than 200 payzone outlets before being presented on-board, or credited with monthly tickets.

Peter Coates, National Express West Midlands’s managing director, defended the price rises by pointing to other cost reductions.

He told the Birmingham Mail that: “Overall a quarter of passengers will benefit from reduced or frozen fares.

“We have cut the price of the off-peak daysaver to just £4 to make it even cheaper and easier to go shopping or have a night out and it will always be best value to pay with the new Swift smartcard."

However passengers weren't quite as supportive. One commuter said: "Once again, passengers are being charged more money for the same service. Yes the company have introduced new buses on some routes but the reliability and cleanliness hasn't changed

"Some of the smaller providers give a far more personal service on buses that are kept in a clean state. If we could see the improvements National Express promise then we might not mind so much, but we appear to pay more and more money each year for the same level of service and buses that turn up when they feel like it."

Others were slightly confused by price increases for monthly travelcards. Liam Kite who was waiting for a bus at Stourbridge Bus Station this morning told us: "I get the same bus every day for work and firstly don't understand why I pay the same price for a 30 minute commute as someone travelling for hours across the region? 

"Secondly, there's posters everywhere telling us that our travelcards are migrating to swift cards to save on waste and make things simpler...yet we're being charged more money? How can a reduction in outgoings translate as an increase in costs?!"

Earlier this year Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced that £620,000 will be given to regional transport body Centro over the next two years to extend smart ticketing across the rail network.

In September Birmingham commuters were hit with another nasty sursprise when Virgin Trains announced it was scrapping its so-called ‘double discount’ - where customers could use discounted, off-peak tickets on peak time trains - leading to a price increase of up to 300 per cent.


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