Passengers’ anger at fare hikes

PRICE RISE Fares are going up on First bus routes
PRICE RISE Fares are going up on First bus routes
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BUS users in Hampshire have criticised rising fare prices.

FirstBus announced the hikes saying single and return bus fares will be increased by between 5p and 50p each from January 1.

The firm has blamed the new prices on rising fuel costs and cuts to government fuel duty subsidies.

While commuters say a fare increase was ‘inevitable’, they say it won’t persuade people to get out of their cars.

For Shawn Jepson, of Hambledon Road, Denmead, the price rise is a step too far.

He added: ‘We only have two buses an hour going directly to Portsmouth, only one a day to Fareham, and only four a day going to Havant.

‘For everything else we have to change at Waterlooville, and it can take anywhere up to 90 minutes to get into town – in a car it’s more like 20 minutes.

‘I agree the price rises were expected, but it’s not good enough, especially if the government wants us all to leave our cars behind and use public transport.

‘It’s simply too expensive and inconvenient.’

Mum-of-two Tracey Thomas, of Chichester Road in North End, said she wasn’t surprised.

She added: ‘It’s inevitable the prices have gone up, really.

‘I don’t mind too much, because I don’t catch the bus often, and when I do there are plenty going down London Road so I usually don’t have to wait long.

‘It’s like everything else – food prices are up, petrol prices too, and now the buses have to put their prices up.

‘It’s always the customer who has to pay at the end of the day.’

FirstBus has said it has frozen the prices of some of its most popular fares, such as the Portsmouth FirstDay ticket, which costs £4.

Matthew Kitchin, general manager for First in Hampshire, said: ‘We understand that this will not be welcome news, but we need to revise some of our fares to ensure that they adequately cover the costs we face in operating buses in this part of the world.’

For information about all the fare changes, call 0870 010 6022.