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18 Mar 2015
Stagecoach confirmed today (Wed 18th March) that bus fares across East Scotland are to rise from Sunday 5th April 2015, reflecting rising costs and reduced public sector investment in buses.
The changes mean that weekly unlimited travel across Fife, with Stagecoach, which has the lowest bus fares of any major operator in the UK, will cost just £4 a day.
A number of multi-journey tickets will be frozen or even reduced, including Under 16 megarider tickets in Dunfermline, Glenrothes and Central Fife areas. A range of new ticket zones in Central Fife and in Perth will create new journey options and new dayrider+ tickets in the Dunfermline area will be launched.
The fares increase, which follows an annual review, is broadly in line with increasing staff costs resulting from growth in the economy.
Bus operator costs across Scotland are rising faster than the income generated from people using the bus. There has been a real-terms cut to the reimbursement paid to bus operators under the Scottish Government's free concessionary bus travel scheme.
Money from fares is used to invest in more modern, greener vehicles, vehicle technology, maintaining and enhancing bus services. Stagecoach announced recently that it is investing £80million in new vehicles for its bus and coach operations in the UK and mainland Europe.
Recent research* also shows that travelling by Stagecoach remains significantly cheaper than commuting by car, with bus users saving an average of £100 a month in comparison with motorists.
Managing Director of Stagecoach East Scotland, Andrew Jarvis said: "Many sectors of the economy are facing rising costs buses and coaches are no different. Prices are also being affected by the continued squeeze on public sector spending on public transport.
"We have done our best to hold down prices for our customers. We still have the lowest bus fares of any major bus operator in Britain and catching the bus or coach is still significantly cheaper than commuting by car.
“We are continuing to use the money we get from fares to reinvest in greener vehicles, vehicle technology and other improvements to services, as well as taking care of our employees who deliver these vital bus service in our communities."
Stagecoach's megarider offers unlimited travel from £28 per week – that’s £4 per day and up just 1% on last year's price. This is our most popular ticket used by the biggest proportion of passengers. We also offer other good value ticket options, ranging from smaller local zones, single trips to annual travel.
Running costs, the number of people using our services, investment in services and the level of public spending and taxes all affect fares. The biggest cost is employee wages, which account for around two thirds of total costs. Other factors are energy and fuel costs, insurance and pensions. Issues such as road congestion and cuts to public spending also affect ticket prices and the overall viability of routes.
Like other transport companies, we fix the price of our fuel in advance to protect customers from the regular ups and downs in the price of oil and provide greater certainty in financial planning which is essential for any business. Fuel accounts for only 11% of our total operating costs and cost increases elsewhere are rising faster than the income we get from people catching the bus.
A recent study by Stagecoach found that bus users save an average of £100 per month by leaving their car in the driveway*. The study looked at just fuel and parking costs and did not include the significant costs of buying or leasing a car. An RAC report in 2014 also found that 80% of motorists said they had noticed that parking has become more expensive in the high street or town centre**.
Stagecoach has three times been independently assessed as offering the lowest fares of any major bus operator in the UK. The research was carried out by independent transport consultants TAS in 2009, 2011 and 2013. The latest study found weekly bus travel with Stagecoach was on average 12% lower than the next cheapest operator, and weekly bus travel with Stagecoach was 50% less than in London.
As well as covering the costs of running services, money from fares is spent on new greener and more accessible buses and other improvements for customers, such as free wi-fi and real-time technology on some routes.
More information is available at www.stagecoachbus.com.
*Based on an average saving calculated across 36 commuter routes in the UK. Individual savings will vary. Fuel prices recorded between 13-16 January 2015. Monthly and annual savings calculated on Weekly Megarider purchases over 46 weeks of the year. A full copy of the Stagecoach survey results can be found here - http://www.stagecoach.com/~/media/Files/S/Stagecoach-Group/Attachments/pdf/fuel-price-calculator.pdf
**2014 RAC Motoring survey