Firstly, Preston Bus has announced it is permanently scrapping its exact fare policy for customers travelling on the operator’s buses.
Currently, passengers using the operator’s services either have to pay using the exact coins, or face being overcharged for their ride.
Throughout the pandemic, Preston Bus has spoken with customers and front-line colleagues about what is important for getting passengers back to bus.
Passengers have said that the exact fare policy has deterred customers from travelling, and combined with the recent introduction of contactless payments, the company has removed this barrier to travel.
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Preston Bus Managing Director Bob Dunn said: “I am pleased to have acted on this feedback that we have received loud and clear from our customers.
"We are currently in the process of fitting equipment to buses to allow us to give change, and will shortly be commencing the removal of the cash vaults, which were first, introduced when conductors were removed from services.
"From Monday, July 26, our drivers will be ready and willing to issue change whenever required”.
Secondly, it has been announced that a new cross-city bus route will be introduced in Preston, the first of its kind for many years.
The current 16 (Farringdon Park) and 89 (Larches via Docks) routes will be combined into one cross-city route allowing passengers to travel directly across the city centre without having to change buses.
The route will be numbered service 100, in recognition of it being 100 years next year since the company’s first motor bus services
Buses will operate up to every 10 minutes from Farringdon Park via New Hall Lane, Stanley Street, calling at Preston Bus Station, then Fishergate, Hartington Road, Portway P+R, the Docks area, Pedders Lane to Larches.
All the usual stops in the city centre will continue to be served.
The maximum £2 fare within Preston will also apply to the new service, meaning that travelling from one side of the city to the other is now cheaper than before, as customers will only have to pay one fare. Lower fares are also available for shorter journeys, and buses will operate more frequently on Sundays.
Thomas Calderbank, Commercial Manager for Preston Bus, said: “The new Cross City 100 service is an exciting innovation to open up the city through new direct bus routes.
"Passengers at Farringdon Park will now be able to shop on the docks, or get off the bus on Fishergate, while residents at Larches will have easier access to places such as Gala Bingo and Lidl on New Hall Lane.
"We will be monitoring the usage closely and making further changes in response to customer demand and feedback.”