Bus fare campaigner to 'keep up pressure'

March 01 2013

A petition has acquired over 3,500 signatures to reduce bus fares, but Bristol City councillors are yet to debate the issue. The campaign, Make Fares Fair, was set up by 33-year-old graphic designer Daniel Farr.

Bus fare campaigner to 'keep up pressure'

A petition has acquired over 3,500 signatures to reduce bus fares, but Bristol City councillors are yet to debate the issue.

The campaign, Make Fares Fair, was set up by 33-year-old graphic designer Daniel Farr in order to lobby the Bristol bus company to reduce its prices.

On January 29, First announced its intention to undertake a structural review of its bus fares, expected to take around six months.

The announcement was made by the Bristol bus company just three days before a demonstration took place outside the depot in Marlborough Street. Over half a dozen local politicians attended along with the members of the public. Mayor George Ferguson is also supporting the petition.

Mr Farr said: “I’m pleased First is holding the review into its fares, but this is just the start of the campaign. We will be keeping up the pressure on First, Bristol City Council and the Mayor to make sure they do make the bus fares fair.”

He believes that a reduction in fares would significantly benefit the city. “It will encourage more people to use the bus, as far too often I see half empty buses going past,” he says.

Bishopton Liberal Democrat councillor David Willingham said central government had also contributed to higher fares, by not giving a full fuel duty rebate to bus operators.

“Affordable, reliable public transport is essential not just for Bristol, but for the wider area," he said. “As a council, Bristol supports the idea of an Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), but we need our neighbours to support this too."

Justin Davies, the South West and Wales managing director of First, said: “We're aware the issue of fares in Bristol has been a contentious one, with a perception that the cost of travel here is significantly higher than elsewhere. This is frustrating for everyone and is something we have wished to tackle for some time.”
Mr Davies hopes the review process will have been completed by the end of the summer.

First has appointed MVA Consultancy, a specialist transport advisory company, and the Public Affairs Company, a long-established communications consultancy.

The review will analyse fares charged and develop a viable fares model, while looking at ways to encourage bus use.