Bus operator slammed over fares increase
ATRANSPORT chief has slammed planned price hikes for First Bus passengers in January.
The company - which runs several routes through the borough - is changing its fares from today (Wednesday).
Rochdale council’s transport spokesman Coun Phil Burke, who represents the borough on the Transport for Greater Manchester committee, condemned the increases, which will hit passengers’ pockets.
Coun Burke also slammed moves which will mean that people who have the First Bus mTickets App on their phones will avoid price rises on certain routes, which those without the app will have to shoulder.
He said: “People already pay a lot of money to travel around the borough and into Manchester and as First Bus is the main provider, our residents don’t have much choice but to use them.
“Bus passengers can’t afford price rises, but it’s a particularly bitter pill to swallow when the service is so poor.
“I’ve received upwards of 70 complaints regarding First Bus services this year from residents across our borough.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve raised these issues with First Bus, but all I hear from them is excuses. all
“What we don’t see is any action.”
First Bus has announced fare rises of between 10p and 30p for single tickets, plus rises for certain day, night and season tickets on their services.
Coun Burke also claimed moves to freeze price hikes on certain routes - but only for users of the app - were unfair on people who do not use smartphones.
He said: “A lot of people in our borough, particularly older bus users, won’t necessarily have access to apps, and it can’t be right that they are being penalised for this,” he said.
Coun Burke is planning to raise the issue at the next meeting of the Transport for Greater Manchester committee on Thursday, January 10.
First Bus did not respond to requests for a comment.
On their website, they say: “If you switch to buying your ticket through the First Bus mTickets app, you’ll get access to all our best value fares as these tickets continue to be cheaper than buying on bus. Choosing mTickets also helps make it easier and quicker for you when boarding.”
●»From left: Mark Cryer, Nigel Sudell, Matt Harvey, Andy Knox, Brian Baldwin, Rick Meyrick and Peter Kelly took part in the sponsored shave
●»Coun Phil Burke