MP calls on transport expert to address bus network problems

First Bus are under fire
First Bus are under fire
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AN expert transport consultant is to be called in to address problems with the First bus network.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt is asking a Department for Transport London worker to help the bus network run more like the one in the capital.

Ms Mordaunt said that First – full name First Hampshire & Dorset – should introduce a low-cost fare that would enable people to travel longer than they can now. ‘This is something that people can do in London and it works well,’ she said.

‘It’s an initiative that has encouraged more people to use that service. While I understand that London is a special case there are things we can take from what’s happening there in order to make our city better. I don’t understand why we don’t have an effective bus service.

‘What my office is looking to do is recruit a transport consultant to carry out a thorough overview of the bus network.’

Ms Mordaunt is outraged that the bus firm plans to put up its prices from December 30 as part of a review of its fares.

As previously reported, all child tickets will go up by 5p to 25p and many adult ones will too. A proportion of adult ticket prices will stay the same or be reduced.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I am outraged at this. Enough is enough. First should reconsider its decision to increase fares.

‘We have already seen First reduce the number of buses available and we are seeing people wait up to 40 minutes for one to turn up.

‘It’s just not good enough.’

First said that while it will strive to improve the quality of its service, it is standing by its decision to increase prices.

The firm said the rise was necessary in order to cover day-to-day running costs and it didn’t rule out another review of its fares next year.

Spokeswoman Karen Baxter said: ‘We have listened to what our customers have said, and we are fully committed to resolving the service delivery problems that have arisen out of the network change as quickly as we can.

‘We are currently finalising our plans to alter those bits of the network which are not working as well as we would have liked and hope to be able to implement them as soon as possible.’