TWO YOUNG campaigners have hit out at First Bus after a fare rise on Sunday which means a return trip between Bromsgrove to Birmingham on the 144 now costs commuters a staggering £7.
That equates to a 40 per cent increase on the ticket which was £5 prior to that. Adults’ weekly tickets on the 144 are now £22 and a young person’s 144 day ticket cost £4.50.
Other new prices include £4 for a day ticket around Bromsgrove alone or £3 for a young person. Weekly passes around Bromsgrove are £14 or £11.50 for a young person.
Discounts are available if people use their mobile phones to pay, rather than on the bus itself with the 144 day ticket being £6.50 and the weekly pass at £20.
Siobhan Hughes, the young members’ officer for the town’s Liberal Democrats group, said: “We should be trying to get more people to use the bus in order to have fewer cars in Bromsgrove, where we already have a major problem with congestion.
“We want more and more people to come into our town to boost the area, but if it costs £7 on the bus from Rubery then no one will want to come here to shop and socialise and will instead take their business elsewhere.”
Her boyfriend Josh Robinson, also a member of the Bromsgrove Liberal Democrats, said: “Buses are much cheaper within Birmingham so people will choose not to venture outside this area if they have to pay more.
“I regularly get the bus to Rubery but the thought of paying £7 for it, especially given the unreliability of First Group’s bus service, seems completely unreasonable.”
Siobhan and Josh are now calling on the operator to reconsider what they label an ‘extreme, unjustified and inflation-busting’ price hike.
Sarah East, head of operations at First Worcester, said changes to the fare structure were aimed at making it simpler for people to find the best ticket to travel.
“Also, for people making longer journeys, we have reduced the cost of travel to make it more accessible and cheaper to travel with the introduction of a county ticket.
“We are also pleased to announce that tickets bought on mobile phones through our mTicket app will be cheaper than the standard fare to encourage more people to switch to a more convenient and cost effective method to pay for bus travel.”
The biggest change was the withdrawal of the Wyvern ticket which has merged with ‘Worcester Plus’ to become the ‘County Ticket’, covering a wider area within the network for people to travel at a lower cost.