Some Sheffield bus fares increasing in wake of cuts anger

Some Sheffield bus fares are being increased '“ despite ongoing anger over controversial cuts to services.

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 9:42 am
Bus users in Sheffield face another rise in fares after changes to the bus services and routes recently Picture Dean Atkins

Some Sheffield bus fares are being increased – despite ongoing anger over controversial cuts to services.

First Buses has introduced a new fare structure this week that involves the cost of weekly passes for Sheffield buses going up and most £1.80 tickets for single journeys increasing to £2. The changes follow controversial cuts to bus services in Sheffield in November, in which dozens of services were axed, rescheduled, reduced or renumbered.

One passenger said the price increase was ‘ridiculous’ while others branded them too expensive already.

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Stagecoach has said it is not making changes to its bus fares but is going to increase tram fares from Sunday with long-distance single fares going up from £2.20 to £2.30 and weekly Megariders increasing from £12.50 to £13.

First says its intention in changing fares is to make travelling by bus ‘simpler and faster’ with fares being rounded up or down to the nearest pound or 50p and claims the majority of customers will be paying either ‘the same or less’.

But it has also admitted fare rises are being introduced to ‘meet increasing costs’ and deliver improvements including the introduction of new buses.

Single fares of £1, £1.50, £3 and £3.50 will be held.

Some fares are being reduced, for example the £1.20 to £1.

But £1.40 fares have gone up to £1.50, £2.30 tickets to £2.50 and most £1.80 fares to £2 (although some will be reduced to £1.50).

Child tickets remain unchanged.

Prices of FirstWeek Doncaster and the FirstWeek Rotherham have been held at £14, with a 50p increase on the FirstWeek Sheffield to £13.

First managing director Kevin Belfield said: “This price review has helped us introduce the latest measure to reduce the time the bus spends at the bus stop and improve convenience for you.

“As part of this annual review, I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to reduce and hold the prices of most fares so the majority of our customers will benefit by paying exactly the same or less for bus travel.

“In some cases we’ve increased fares to reflect the fact many costs associated with operating buses are increasing and therefore we need to review our fares from time-to-time to take account of this and ensure we can continue to invest in improving services for our customers in future.

“These price changes will help support the extensive seven-day network of services offered across Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster, many of which are largely dependent upon fares from customers to cover their operating costs.

“I appreciate nobody likes it when prices go up but we have worked hard to keep any increases to a minimum. The cost of travel on a First bus still represents excellent value-for-money.”

But passengers today criticised the rises.

Peta Bromwich, aged 53, of Crookes, said: “I work four days a week and i t’s cheaper to drive and park my car in town.

“It’s ridiculous really, I don’t know if it’s worth the money people pay.”

Richard Marriott, of Parson Cross, said: “You’ve got no choice really. If that’s the only way of getting about then what can you do?”

Lily Broadbent, 19, of Greenhill, said: “I was affected by the bus changes in November which made me late for work. I don’t think it should go up because standards have gone down.”

Gill Hogan, 23, of Crookes, said: “I think it’s too expensive already.

“If a city is trying to encourage more people on to public transport and out of their cars then this is not the way to do it.”

A First spokesman said: “People are still raising questions about the changes. We are listening and welcome feedback and we want to get the network working for everybody.”

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition calling for cuts to bus services across the city to be reversed after they were introduced on November 1.