Bus fare hike sparks anger from users online and at station

ON THE UP Adult tickets on First bus routes are rising in price
ON THE UP Adult tickets on First bus routes are rising in price
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BUS fare increases have sparked anger amongst passengers as First announce a fresh wave of price changes.

First will be changing fares in Portsmouth, Waterlooville, Fareham and Gosport from Saturday. It will be the first rise in more than a year, as the company said no changes were made to fares during the whole of 2013.

First is citing increasing running costs, including the rising price of fuel.

Adult prices will be rising between 5p and 30p per ticket for returns, and 5p and 20p for singles.

Some fares have seen a decrease, such as children’s tickets which drop 15p and the price of an adult single between Portsmouth city centre and Gunwharf, which also drops 15p to £1.

Portsmouth weekly tickets will decrease from £19 to £18 for adults and from £15 to £14.50 for children.

Chrissie Bainbridge, manager for First Hampshire, said: ‘I am pleased that we have managed to lower a number of our fares and hold the prices of many others.

‘Unfortunately however, many costs associated with running a bus company are increasing.

‘Although we have worked very hard to improve our processes and procedures to help us absorb these costs, the ongoing challenging economic climate, higher fuel costs and reduced funding all mean that we have no option but to increase some of our fares.

‘I can assure our customers that any increases we are making are being kept to an absolute minimum and that bus travel still provides excellent value for money.’

People were not happy about the changes, with many voicing their anger on First’s facebook page. Passengers at Fareham bus station were equally unimpressed.

Carly O’Rourke, 16, from Gosport said: ‘It’s too much already. I travel between Fareham and Gosport and I go to college on the bus.

‘As I’m on minimum wage, the bus fare costs more than one hour at work. It’s too much to raise it.’

Phil Barrett, 60, who uses the bus to visit his parents in Gosport, said: ‘I am against any rise unless the living wage also goes up.

‘They would have to demonstrate this is absolutely necessary. I think the public should remain suspicious of their rationale.’

Linda Kinsey, 63, from Paulsgrove, said: ‘That is terrible. I’m not happy. I use the bus to come in to work in the mornings.

‘They should bring in half price fares for everybody and get rid of bus passes, that would make it fair for all and more people would use the bus.’ Full fare changes can be found at firstgroup.com/ukbus/hampshire/