ConDems’ fuel tax hike and BSOG cut blamed for rising fares by Stagecoach Manchester MD
- Fares to rise by average of 6% – but lower increases for regular bus users
- 5% jump in English bus company operating costs in 2011
- Bus fare increases less than half the rise in annual motoring costs
Rising costs and a 74% Government hike in fuel tax on buses has forced up fares for passengers, Stagecoach confirmed today.
Fares in Greater Manchester will rise by an average of 6% from Sunday 8th April 2012. However, Stagecoach has protected regular bus users by keeping the increase in its weekly megarider ticket to 4%.
The rises compare with a 14% rise in the annual cost of motoring reported by the RAC in November 2011.
An independent survey last year found that Stagecoach offers the best value bus fares of any major bus operator in the UK, with prices up to 20% lower than other companies.
However, Stagecoach said today that the Government’s 20% cut in Bus Service Operators Grant from 1 April, combined with the planned 3p fuel duty rise, would increase fuel tax on its bus passengers in England by 74%, sucking more than £1.5milion out of the local bus network in Greater Manchester. In contrast, trains pay virtually no tax on their fuel and planes pay none at all.
Bus operators across England have also faced rising costs in other areas including increased labour, energy and insurance costs. The annual Cost Index, compiled by the Confederation of Passenger Transport before the fuel tax changes, shows operating costs in the 12 months to 31 December 2011 had already risen by 5%.
Christopher Bowles, Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester, said: “These damaging Government cuts and tax hike, combined with rising costs, are having a direct impact on bus fares and services across England.
“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.”
A summary of the current and new prices in Manchester are listed below:
- Adult Dayrider: up from £3.70 to £3.90;
- Concessionary Dayrider: £1.85 to £1.95;
- Megarider (7 day): £11.50 to £12.00;
- Easyrider: £5.75 to £6.00;
- Dayrider Plus One: £5.50 to £5.80;
- Group Dayrider: £8.00 to £8.50;
- Single Fares: up 10p (5p for concessions);
- Magic Bus Single Fares, 314 (Offerton – Stockport) return fares: up 20p (10p for concessions).
S.V., 28 March 2012.