Bus fares up as fuel costs bite

MANY bus fares across Essex went up over the weekend as operator First took steps to reflect the spiralling costs of fuel.

MANY bus fares across Essex went up over the weekend as operator First took steps to reflect the spiralling costs of fuel.

The changes took effect as of yesterday and most single fares across the network have increased by 10p.

However, some fares remain unchanged and a new “Fuel Buster” ticket has been introduced to help regular bus users fix the price of their travel for the next six months.

Bob Dorr, managing director of First's bus services in Essex, said all transport operators were facing increased fuel costs.

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He said: “That also affects many of our other operating costs. We have been able to absorb some of these increases but regrettably we now need to change some of our fares as well.

“I have tried hard to ensure that our fares continue to offer good value for money and I am pleased that in some areas we have been able to keep the fares unchanged.”

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He said he was also aware of a growing number of car drivers concerned about the high cost of fuel themselves who are considering taking the bus for some journeys.

The Colchester “Inner” range of day, week, month and 12-journey tickets remains unchanged, as do multi-operator Boroughcard tickets.

In Clacton the adult day ticket increases from £5.20 to £5.40, the adult week ticket from £16 to £17 and the adult month ticket from £52 to £55.

The new 'Fuel Buster' ticket costs £250 for the Chelmsford “Inner” area while the “All of Essex” tickets that give unlimited travel on all First's bus services across the county have also gone up.

Peter Kay, secretary of the Colchester Bus Users' Group, said that although fuel formed a relatively small percentage of bus operators' costs, it was understandable that the recent rises had led to the price increase.

He said: “We don't want them to start cutting services instead, but it is something that everybody uses for an excuse for price rises now.

“I don't think people will be affected that much, but it's not just this time - will they have another rise in November?”

Full details of all fares are available on buses, from First Travel Shops, online at www.firstgroup.com or by calling First Customer Services on 08456 782977.

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