Stagecoach and Arriva are being forced to increase their bus fares for Manchester passengers as the Government’s 74% hike in fuel tax affects fares.
Tickets for regular Stagecoach bus users will rise by 4%, with prices for day tickets set to increase by 6%, from April 1.
However, First Manchester buses, who were recently fined £285,000 by the Traffic Commissioner for poorly timed services, will not see a rise in tickets prices.
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.”
Stagecoach were named as the best value company for bus fares in the UK by an independent survey last year, however they have blamed the Government’s 20% cut in Bus Service Operators Grants and a 3p fuel duty rise from sucking more than £1.5million out of Greater Manchester’s bus network.
Mr Bowles says that Stagecoach, who employ over 1,800 people, will continue to re-invest the income from fares in improvements for their 98million annual passengers.
Arriva buses in Greater Manchester will also increase their standard single fares by up to 20p in order to ‘maintain the stability of their bus network across the North West’.
However, First Manchester buses are vowing to keep their prices the same for passengers, for now.
Duncan McGraw of First Manchester said: “We will not be following Stagecoach and Arriva by increasing passenger fares. We also have no plans to increase prices in the near future.”
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%.
A summary Stagecoach’s current and new prices in Manchester are listed below:
Megarider 7 day
Dayrider Plus One
Magic Bus Single
Increase by 10 p
Increase by 20p