Cuts in fuel prices need to be reflected in lower fares

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I’m a big supporter of businesses which are efficient and effective and play fair with their customers and employees.

Similarly, I am determined to stand up for the local people who elected me when I see they are being exploited by companies which use their oligopoly position to treat them unfairly. I’m not bothered whether they are energy, water or bus companies.

If they don’t treat people fairly, they should be challenged. If this is what Paul Lynch (managing director, Stagecoach) calls ‘electioneering’ (Letters, Star, February 16 ), I’m happy to plead guilty.

Diesel prices are now 30 per cent lower than they were a year ago, but there is no sign of this being reflected in fares.

As Mr Lynch well knows, this is not the first time I’ve called Stagecoach and First to account for profiteering at the expense of their passengers.

I note his claim that the reason that fares cannot be cut is because oil prices have been hedged. Yet when oil prices were rising the bus companies used that as an excuse to put fares up relentlessly.

The bus companies then went on to make super-profits and provided record returns to their shareholders at the passengers’ expense. I predict the same thing is happening now and will be confirmed when the companies publish their accounts in due course.

I have no hesitation in repeating my call to the bus companies for the big cuts in fuel prices to be reflected in lower fares for hard-pressed local families not in super-dividends for shareholders.

Clive Betts MP

Sheffield South East by email