Preston Bus fares to increase as senior councillor complains of 'poor service'

The deputy leader of Preston City Council has accused Preston Bus of putting its prices up during a period when many of its timetables are “meaningless”.
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A range of fares will rise on the firm’s services on Sunday (2nd October), with the company saying that it is sorry for the hikes, which it blamed on fuel and staffing costs now being “much higher than at the start of the year”.

The operator has frozen the price of some of its single tickets and also increased the age limit for its child fares so that the reduced rate benefits 16, 17 and 18-year-olds.

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Preston Bus says that it has absorbed as much of its increased costs as it can before putting up faresPreston Bus says that it has absorbed as much of its increased costs as it can before putting up fares
Preston Bus says that it has absorbed as much of its increased costs as it can before putting up fares
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Preston Bus said that it had absorbed as much of its extra costs as possible and also stressed that the average price rise across all of the revised fares is below the current 9.8 percent rate of inflation.

However, Cllr Martyn Rawlinson noted that the 28-day adult pass has gone up up by over 20 percent from £49.20 to £60.

“The saving made on buying a longer pass is drastically reduced. – loyalty should be rewarded, not penalised,” the Labour politician told the Lancashire Post.

“All this is happening while the bus services themselves are extremely poor. The timetables are meaningless and some evening buses, which are only every 30 minutes, do not arrive, leaving passengers stranded for long periods or forced to pay again for another bus or a taxi – or, of course, to walk, which is not always safe at night.”

Deputy leader of Preston City Council, Martyn RawlinsonDeputy leader of Preston City Council, Martyn Rawlinson
Deputy leader of Preston City Council, Martyn Rawlinson
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The travel firm last month temporarily lengthened the journey times on some of its routes in an attempt to improve punctuality, which it said has been hit by roadworks in the city centre. It also reduced the frequency of services where passenger numbers have fallen.

Responding to the criticism both of price increases and poor performance, Thomas Calderbank, commercial manager for Preston Bus, said: “We are currently experiencing some reliability issues on certain services, which is due to a range of factors – including a shortage of drivers, the closure of Friargate, which is significantly extending journey times, and the ongoing city centre roadworks.

“However, over 98 percent of our services are operating on a daily basis and we are working hard to improve reliability further, including [via] an intensive recruitment drive.

“The 28-day tickets continue to offer excellent value for money and still reward loyalty. The 28-day ticket offers unlimited travel around the Preston area for just £2.14 per day, offering considerable savings over the £4.70 EasiDay ticket,” Mr. Calderbank added.

Thomas Calderbank, Commercial Manager at Preston BusThomas Calderbank, Commercial Manager at Preston Bus
Thomas Calderbank, Commercial Manager at Preston Bus
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Preston Bus is also trialling Value Return tickets, costing £2.90, on selected routes: between Preston and the Royal Preston Hospital on services 19 and 23 and between any two points on services 8 and 100.

Cllr Rawlinson said that “expensive” passes for school bus services should permit children to take other buses outside school hours.

“This is a double whammy for parents [and] restricts family budgets, family outings and hits the local economy – especially families in east Preston where many rely on the school specials as there are no high schools within a single bus ride.”

However, Thomas Calderbank told the Post that all of the Preston Bus school passes were valid on their other services “at any time of the week” – adding that while that may not be the case for the scholar passes issued via Lancashire County Council, “that would be an issue outside of our control”.

WHAT'S CHANGING?

As of Sunday 2nd October...

Adult Single

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Previously £2.10 >>> frozen on some services, rising to £2.30 on others

Adult Single (short hop)

Previously £1.70 >>> frozen on some services, rising to £1.80 on others

Child Single

Previously £1.60 >>> frozen and now available to all under-19s

Post-7pm Single

Previously £1 >>> frozen

Adult EasiReturn

Previously £4.10 >>> withdrawn

Adult EasiDay

Previously £4.40 >>> £4.70

Child EasiDay

Previously £3.30 >>> £3.50 and now available to all under-19s

Family EasiDay

Previously £6.40 >>> £7

Adult EasiWeek

Previously £14.40 >>> £16.00

Child EasiWeek

Previously £11.80 >>> £13.00

Adult 28-Day

Previously £49.20 >>> £60

Child 28-Day

Previously £38.50 >>> £45.00

Take Five (5 single journeys)

Previously £9.60 >>> £10.60

Take Ten (10 single journeys)

Previously £19.20 >>> £21.10

Source: Preston Bus/Rotala