Published date 21 September 2022

Metro Mayor urges passengers to “Get on Board” as bus fares go down

Stood in front of a bus are Metro Mayor Dan Norris, Rob Pymm (Commercial Director, First West of England) and Rachel Geliamassi (Managing Director, Stagecoach West) as well as the children of Holymead Primary School holding a giant pound coin

Passengers will benefit from new cheaper single and return fares starting later this month across West of England buses, Metro Mayor Dan Norris has confirmed.

All single adult tickets in Bristol and Bath will be reduced to £2 for adults while returns will cost £3.50. Outside of the two cities there will also be sizeable cost reductions for adults.

Children will pay a flat £1 rate across the whole of the West of England.

The new fares will start from 25 September on the vast majority of West of England buses before being introduced across all routes, regardless of operator, by the end of next month. The support is part of the Government's £105m Bus Service Improvement Plan funding, which was secured by the West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset Council earlier this year.

The Metro Mayor says the new fare package delivers on his pledge for simpler and cheaper bus fares, will help a little towards easing the cost-of-living crisis for locals, and will go a long way to addressing the big challenges on the buses at present, with passenger numbers 25% down on pre-pandemic levels.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “It’s time to get on board for new fares. I’m delighted to be able to introduce this package to immediately to offer a small helping hand to people facing a crippling cost-of-living crisis. At a time where the challenges on the buses are so huge, this is a real opportunity to create that virtuous cycle of more fare income to reinvest in our bus network which in turn will mean better buses for everyone. So my big message to local people is: please take advantage of this and take your children out for just £1. The more journeys you make, the more you will be helping us together to build the local bus system we both need and deserve. It’s also so very vital if we are going to meet our super ambitious local 2030 net-zero targets.”

Cllr Steve Hogg, North Somerset Lead Councillor for Transport said: “I’m so pleased that we are finally able to bring some much needed good news to our bus passengers across the region. An affordable and reliable bus network is the very cornerstone of our future plans for decarbonisation and our net-zero commitments. I’m hopeful and confident that today marks the beginning of what promises to be an exciting road ahead for our public transport services here in the West of England."

The scheme is a joint initiative from the West of England Combined Authority, North Somerset Council and the bus operators, including Firstbus, Stagecoach West and others.

Doug Clarinbold, Managing Director of First West of England said: “With rising living costs, we are delighted that the West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset Council have been able to provide operators in the region with financial support that enables significant reductions to these key West of England fares. Passenger numbers on our services are still significantly down on pre-pandemic levels and we are seeing some of our longer distance services that connect our towns and cities or serve more rural areas facing a particularly difficult time. Lower single, return and day ticket fares will help these services at a time when most things are going up in price. We hope this will encourage more people to use our services so that as we take action to increase driver numbers and improve the reliability of our services, we can accelerate the recovery in bus use across the region".

Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director of Stagecoach West, said: "Supportive measures to keep fares low can provide an attractive incentive to help attract new passengers on to the bus. It also builds on steps we have already been taking to give local people, including jobseekers, the best value travel we can. Investment by our West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset Council partners in priority measures is also key to making buses more attractive, keeping them out of congestion, making journeys quicker and more reliable, and reducing operational costs that put pressure on fares. We look forward to working with Mayor Norris and the Combined Authority to ensure this initiative supports the long-term sustainability of the region’s bus network, which is vital in connecting communities with jobs, education and skills, as well as friends, family, and essential public services."

Over 90% of the network including all First Bus services will use the new fares from Sunday 25 September. Other operators have pledged to use the fares by the end of October. The fares apply to journeys taking place solely in the West of England Combined Authority area plus North Somerset.

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