The Echo had a good piece recently investigating high bus fares, prompted by Arriva raising their fares yet again. A single journey within Liverpool now costs an eye-watering £2.10, even if you’re only travelling a few stops.
Compare with London, which is (we are always told) an expensive place to live. There, if you have an Oyster card, it costs just £1.40 for a single journey. Of course, London’s buses are controlled and priced by TfL, whereas the rest of the country have to make do with the free-for-all of deregulation.
Obviously the bus companies have to make their money somewhere, but there comes a point when it gets ridiculous. At those fares, a group of four people travelling together would pay £8.40 – they might be better off sharing a taxi. And of course, the people who suffer are the poorest members of society, who often have no alternative but to use the bus.
Arriva have introduced all sorts of gimmicks – free wi-fi, environmentally friendly hybrid buses and loads more, but if the fares keep increasing, there are going to be no passengers on the buses. If the bus companies were serious about getting people out of their cars, they would drop the fares and try to entice more people onto their services.