Anger as bus fares rise as routes axed

A 'First bus southbound London Road, Hilsea.
A 'First bus southbound London Road, Hilsea.
Picture: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire

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PASSENGERS have criticised a bus company for hiking up fares while axing services.

First Bus said 40 per cent of its routes across Hampshire have been hit by price increases.

In Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport, some fares have gone up by between 5p and 20p a journey.

While all single and return fares ending in 5p have been rounded up.

Commuters criticised First for the changes, saying it’s unfair to put up the prices at the same time as cutting a number of routes.

Dave Kidd, 54, from Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove, said: ‘Every time they decrease their service within weeks they put the prices up.

‘It’s quite a bit of money. They are taking buses off and putting the fares up.’

Mr Kidd also complained that his buses were often late.

Marc Reddy, managing director of First Hampshire and Dorset, said the company had no choice but to increase fares.

‘We regret the need to increase some of our fares but unfortunately we have no choice as our operating costs have changed,’ he said.

‘We have kept the increases as small as we have been able to with many single and return fares frozen at 2010 levels.’

Referring to the bus routes that have been cut, Mr Reddy added: ‘We regularly review our networks to ensure that they are working effectively and that all routes and individual journeys are well supported by local people.

‘Where we find this not to be the case we have to take steps to address this as it is neither environmentally friendly, nor commercially viable to run empty buses.’

First said 83.9 per cent of services across Hampshire and Dorset were on time.