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Some Suffolk bus fares going up as First pushes new technology

PUBLISHED: 11:57 03 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 03 January 2019

Fares on First Eastern Counties buses in Suffolk are set to change - with some rising for walk-on passengers. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Fares on First Eastern Counties buses in Suffolk are set to change - with some rising for walk-on passengers. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Fares for some journeys on First Eastern Counties buses are set to go up later this month as the company tries to persuade more passengers to use new digital tickets.

Fares on First Eastern Counties buses in Suffolk are set to change - with some rising for walk-on passengers. Picture: PAUL GEATERFares on First Eastern Counties buses in Suffolk are set to change - with some rising for walk-on passengers. Picture: PAUL GEATER

First is putting up the fares for some of its single and return fares by 10p or 20p from January 13 – but it is freezing the cost of travel for those who use its mTicket app on their mobile phone to pay for their journey.

First is putting up the fares for some of its single and return fares by 10p or 20p from January 13 – but it is freezing the cost of travel for those who use its mTicket app on their mobile phone to pay for their journey.

It is also freezing the cost of weekly, monthly, and annual tickets for all passengers – and is reducing the cost of day tickets when bought with an mTicket.

The cost of some group tickets will go up if bought on a bus – but will be frozen for mTicket passengers.

Fares on First Eastern Counties buses in Suffolk are set to change - with some rising for walk-on passengers. Picture: PAUL GEATERFares on First Eastern Counties buses in Suffolk are set to change - with some rising for walk-on passengers. Picture: PAUL GEATER

And there will be an increase in the cost of 10-trip tickets which are used by people who irregularly use bus services.

A spokesman for the company said: “We are trying to encourage as many passengers as possible to use the mTickets because they are much faster to process and allow buses to get around faster.

“At present we have 41% of our passengers using digital tickets – which puts Eastern Counties fourth in the league table of First UK bus operators. But we want to encourage many more people to use these tickets.”

He said that overall the price rises should affect only a minority of passengers – and for those who were affected they could switch to the new technology.

“With these changes there will be more differential pricing between digital tickets and those bought on the buses so we really do hope to encourage more people to use them,” the spokesman added,

“There is nothing much else we can do to speed buses than to reduce the time it takes to collect fares and give change.”

Fares for people using Ipswich Park and Ride services will go up for tickets bought on the buses, but not for those using mTickets.

And the company says that for people who don’t have mTickets it is possible to use contactless credit cards on its buses which are faster than trying to pay with cash.

First Eastern Counties operates bus services across much of Suffolk – especially in rural areas – and on a few routes in the east of Ipswich.

Its fare changes come into force a few weeks after borough council-owned Ipswich Buses increased fares on its network around the town.

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