Bus users in Doncaster face fare increases next month – despite falling fuel prices.
First Doncaster, the borough’s biggest bus service operator, has announced it will be putting a number of its fares next month – although some prices will be frozen.
However, the move has led to criticism from passengers in the borough.
John Hoare, chairman of the South Yorkshire public transport users group, said: “I think it is regrettable fares should be going up at a time when we are all aware petrol prices have come down.
“The other thing I would say is First is in the process of re-organising their services in Doncaster.
“They have looked at the Thorne corridor, North Road, Balby Road and Bawtry Road.
“It is trying to rearrange things to make bus services more attractive to the public, but at the same time putting fares up.
“It is not going to encourage people onto public transport.”
First has defended the moves, which will see 10p added to the cost of single fares, which are currently priced £1.80 £2.30 or £2.60, from Saturday, March 28.
The current £1, £1.20 and £1.50 fares are frozen, as are those which are currently £3 and £3.50.
A First Month Doncaster pass will rise from £50 to £52, First Week Doncaster from £13.50 to £14 and First Day Doncaster from £3.90 to £4. A First Day Family ticket is set to rise from £8.50 to £9.
First Week South Yorkshire, South Yorkshire Student Week, First Month SY and First Day South Yorkshire £5 will be frozen, as will be park-and-ride return and racecourse return fares.
The price of child tickets will also remain unchanged.
First says, despite some increases, saver tickets remain cheaper than in 2012. However, it said some rises were necessary to meet increasing costs of operation and to provide a ‘solid business platform to drive further service improvement for customers in 2015’.
In the last two years, First has invested more than £16 million in new buses across South Yorkshire, as well as investing in initiatives such as mobile ticketing to improve service quality for customers together with training and development for staff. Plans are now also in place to introduce further new buses into South Yorkshire later this year.
Ben Gilligan, managing director of First in South Yorkshire, said: “Despite having to absorb increasing costs, I’m pleased we’ve been able to hold the prices of many fares.
This means the majority of our customers will benefit by paying exactly the same for bus travel.
“However, most 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.
“In 2014, we introduced a number of improvements for customers, including new buses, Wi-Fi and a range of fares and ticketing initiatives.
“These price changes will help support the extensive seven-day network of services offered across 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.”