Mr Betts unfairly using buses as an electioneering ploy

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Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts clearly does not understand the economics of buses or what drives local bus fares (‘Sheffield MP’s call to cut bus prices’, February 8).

We have not profited from the recent period of falling oil prices – in fact the opposite is true.

Like other transport companies, we fix the price of our fuel in advance to protect customers from the regular ups and downs in the price of oil and provide greater certainty in financial planning which is essential for any business.

In any case, fuel accounts for only 11 per cent of our total operating costs and cost increases elsewhere are rising faster than the income we get from people catching the bus.

Bus industry costs overall have been rising at a rate of 3.6 per cent, nearly four times the current rate of RPI inflation.

Stagecoach has been independently found to offer the best value bus fares in Britain and research shows that catching the bus remains significantly cheaper than commuting by car – even with recent cuts in fuel prices at the pumps.

In Sheffield, we offer unlimited weekly bus travel for £12 and the Sheffield Bus Partnership has helped boost passenger numbers, improved reliability and increase passenger satisfaction with bus services.

Our approach is to continue to invest in the quality of our services and keep fares as low as we can to attract even more people to bus travel. It is disappointing Mr Betts is trying to unfairly use buses as an electioneering ploy.

Paul Lynch

Managing Director, Stagecoach Yorkshire