Is your bus fare too much? First asks passengers in greater Bristol consultation
6:00am Friday 31st January 2014 in News By Alexandra Womack, senior reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury
BUS company First has announced it will consult with passengers in the greater Bristol area over ticket prices.
The six-week consultation will get underway on Saturday (February 1) and will look at fares on all First West of England services outside of Bristol’s inner zone including Chipping Sodbury, Thornbury, Dursley and Yate.
Regular bus users and non-public transport users can comment on the cost of bus travel in the consultation to be known as Fairer Fares for All.
It follows a similar consultation in central Bristol last November which led to numerous changes including discounts for children and young people.
Managing director Paul Matthews said: “We completed an extensive consultation with bus users – and non users – in Bristol last year, asking people how they used the buses, what tickets they bought and what they thought about the cost of travel. Having analysed the results we implemented a series of radical changes to bus fares in the city last November. “We are now looking at the wider West of England area and plan to review all of our remaining services. This is a mammoth task but it is an important one. We need to better understand how people use our buses, how frequently they travel and for what purpose.
“We would also like to know what type of tickets they’re buying at present and how they rate them in terms of value for money. All this data will then help us, and our transport consultants, determine the way forward.”
He said any changes would likely be implemented during the summer.
South Gloucestershire councillor Brian Allinson, chairman of the West of England Joint Transport Executive Committee, said: “This is excellent news, buses play a vital role moving people around the area, and we need to make them as affordable as possible – the councils will be working with First to spread the word and encourage people to take part in this consultation. “It is really important that as many people as possible take part in the consultation so we can be sure that people from more rural areas as well as villages, towns and edge of the city have their say.”
The consultation runs until March 16. A questionnaire will go live at www.firstgroup.com/fairerfaresforall from February 1.
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