Greens say £2 single bus fare cap of limited value

Greens say £2 single fare cap of limited value to Exeter bus passengers without raft of other changes

Green Party calls on Stagecoach South West to:

  • Increase frequency on all city services
  • Ensure £2 single fare cap can be used on multiple journeys within an hour
  • Reduce Dayrider price to £4
  • Re-introduce £1 add-on fare for children
  • Begin rollout of electric buses

Green Party councillors in Exeter have written to the new managing director of Stagecoach South West saying the recent introduction of a £2 cap on single bus fares in England is proving of limited value to passengers in the city and have called for the introduction of other measures. Greens point to recent cuts in services and shortening bus routes and are calling for additional fares incentives and improved and increased services.

Green councillor Carol Bennett said:

“The government-backed £2 single bus fare cap is a welcome, if limited, incentive to encourage people onto buses, especially for those travelling longer distances into and out of Exeter. However, people can only use buses if they run and provide a reliable service. Recent cuts have left many communities without an adequate bus service or with no service at all.

Recent changes to city services mean that many bus routes have been shortened, so someone wanting to cross the city will now likely need to use two different buses. This will mean a £4 journey under the £2 single cap. We therefore call on Stagecoach to allow a single ticket to be valid for an hour so it can be used on multiple services. We also think the cost of the dayrider should be reduced to £4 to match the cost of two single fares.”

The Green Party have also challenged Stagecoach to use the three month fares cap as an opportunity to build back trust with the travelling public. The company’s poor service record in Exeter in recent months was recognised by the Traffic Commissioner, who issued a penalty, forcing Stagecoach to offer two weekends of free bus travel on city routes. (See article from ITV SW News here).

Councillor Catherine Rees said:

"Stagecoach claims that it is now over its recruitment problems so it’s time for the company to shift up a gear. We’d like to see every city bus stop served by a bus at least every 20 minutes during weekdays, and Sunday services to be increased from hourly to every 30 minutes. Evening services also need to run at least every 30 minutes. It’s also time for Stagecoach to honour its previous promise and roll-out electric buses.”

Greens are also calling for an extension of reasonably priced fares beyond the three month government subsidy.

Green councillor Amy Sparling, a member of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC), said:

“At a cost of £60 million, the government subsidy for this fare cap is small change, especially when compared to £27bn worth of road building plans.  The government must do better, permanently reducing fares to ensure buses are affordable. It needs to make proper investment to build up a reliable and credible bus network in our cities which also connect to communities further afield.

However, given Stagecoach’s failures in Exeter over recent months, we are calling on the company to maintain the £2 cap on single fares beyond three months and reintroduce the £1 child add-on fare, where anyone under 16 travelling with a fare paying adult is charged just £1 for a single journey. This is something Greens’ successfully fought for and won a number of years ago before it was scrapped by the company.”

Green campaigner Andy Ketchin said:

“The £2 cap on single fares is an opportunity for Stagecoach to put the brakes on a spiral of decline in Exeter and build back trust with the travelling public. If the company is genuinely committed to communities in Exeter they will take the series of additional common sense steps the Green Party is proposing. We believe that these measures will increase passenger numbers, which in turn will help relieve congestion, improve air quality and help tackle the city’s carbon emissions.”

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