4% rise in fares as bus firm blames politicians

Kirkcaldy bus station
Kirkcaldy bus station

BUS fares are set to rise as transport operator Stagecoach has announced an increase in ticket costs.

The new fares will take effect on Monday and will be an average of four per cent on all tickets.

This means passengers will pay an extra 10p under the revised fares for a single ticket, adult ‘dayrider’ ticket, which offers unlimited travel within Kirkcaldy’s boundaries. A weekly ‘megarider’ ticket is up 50p to £10.50.

All fares costing £9.55 and over will increase 50p, with a ‘megarider plus’ ticket going up to £17.50.

The bus company says that fares have increased due to rising operating costs and a Government hike in fuel taxes on buses.

But it says it has done its best to minimise the impact on its customers and ensure that it continues to offer an affordable alternative to commuting by car.

Stagecoach has justified their decision by saying that the UK Government’s planned three pence fuel duty rise combined with the Scottish Government’s changes to the Bus Service Operators Grant from April 1, would increase fuel tax on its bus passengers by 32 per cent.

Additionally it faces increased labour, energy and insurance costs of 7.8 per cent.

Best value

The bus company claims it offers the best value bus fares of any major bus operator in the UK, with prices up to 20 per cent lower than its competitors.

But, passengers at Kirkcaldy’s bus station in Hill Street were not happy to hear about the new increase - and many feel that the current costs are already expensive enough.

But they say they cannot do anything about it as fuel costs are soaring at the same time, and with the threat of strike action by fuel delivery drivers, they have no choice but to use public transport regardless.

Self employed beauty therapist, Shona Macdonald (21) said: “I need to travel around for my job and petrol is too expensive, but bus fares going up means something’s got to give.”

Charlie Mullen, managing director of Stagecoach East Scotland said: “These damaging Government tax hikes, combined with rising costs, are having a direct impact on bus fares and services across Scotland.

“We share the frustration of our passengers, many of whom are on some of the lowest incomes.

“Along with businesses, they are already being squeezed by higher bills and energy prices.

“We have had to take some very tough decisions, but we have worked hard to keep fares down for those who rely on the bus the most.

“Our bus services continue to offer a greener, smarter and better value way to travel and we will also continue to re-invest the income from fares in improvements for passengers.”

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