First Bus passengers to be hit with New Year ticket price rise
PASSENGERS travelling on First buses will be hit by a price increase from next week.
Fares will go up by as much as 10p from Sunday, January 6.
First Bus last increased its ticket prices 12 months ago and claims the revised fares are due to 'the turbulent economic climate.'
Ady Culpin marketing manager, said: "The fare revisions have been kept to a minimum but like all businesses we are continually challenged with increased costs and from time to time we need to adjust prices to bring the business into line.
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"First remains in a strong position to continue delivering high quality services.
"And First Potteries will continue to be committed to making buses the preferred option for travel around the North Staffordshire area."
Fares which are being affected include:
Student single fares which will go up from £1.65 to £1.75;
Child single fares which will increase from £1.30 to £1.40;
Adult First Day tickets which will rise from £4.90 to £5;
First month tickets which will now cost £68 instead of £70;
First three-month tickets which will go up from £170 to £175.
Passengers have hit out at the rises and say they do not reflect the quality of service.
Twenty year-old Brian Wijemanne, of Fenton, said: "I used to live in London and you could hop on a bus to anywhere you wanted.
"But here you seem to be waiting for hours.
"I don't think it's right that First are putting up the fares when the service is not up to scratch.
"People don't have a lot of money at the moment and it seems First is targeting the most vulnerable groups of people."
Student Zarina Mahmood, aged 17, also of Fenton, who goes to Cauldon College, said: "I normally get my three-month bus pass from the college because they are cheaper than buying them on the bus.
"But they aren't available to us during the holidays so if we use the bus we have to pay the normal price.
"First should be thinking of introducing more discounts not increasing the fares."
The adult single fare, which is the most popular, will remain the same at £2. But the bus company has also confirmed that all-operator Smart bus tickets, which allows the same ticket to be used on nearly all services in the city irrespective of operator, will also see an increase in price although it is not clear yet by how much.
Robert Bailey, aged 30, of Newcastle, added: "I have recently given up my car so I can use the bus because it is a lot cheaper for me, but if the fares keep increasing it means it was pointless.
"I remember that an adult single trip was about £1 five years ago.
"So that means it has doubled during the time when there is no money about."