Bus company says it has been ‘forced’ to increase fares

File picture of Stagecoach Midlands  unveiling a new fleet of buses for Peterborough to Northampton route. L-R David Talbot (Mayors Consort) Cllr Margaret Talbot (Mayor of Kettering) Chris Wragg (Transport Planning) and Steve Burd (MD of Stagecoach).

File picture of Stagecoach Midlands unveiling a new fleet of buses for Peterborough to Northampton route. L-R David Talbot (Mayors Consort) Cllr Margaret Talbot (Mayor of Kettering) Chris Wragg (Transport Planning) and Steve Burd (MD of Stagecoach).

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Rising costs and reduced public sector investment have forced up fares for passengers, Stagecoach Midlands has said.

Fares in Northamptonshire will rise by an average of 3.9 per cent from Sunday, April 14.

The cost of a Weekly Northampton Megarider ticket which is used by most passengers in Northampton will change from £11.80 to £12. This offers passengers unlimited travel for seven days within Northampton for just £1.71 a day. Most fares have increased by between 5p and 10p.

A Stagecoach spokesman said the rises compare with a 14 per cent rise in the annual cost of motoring reported by the RAC in November 2011.

Stagecoach also recently launched the country’s first long-term nationwide discounted bus travel scheme for jobseekers, whereby holders of a Jobcentreplus Travel Discount Card qualify for half-price single and return tickets on Stagecoach’s 6,500 buses in the UK outside London.

However, Stagecoach said that continued rising costs – including labour, energy, fuel and insurance costs - and reduced public sector investment in bus services has resulted in the operator having no choice but to increase some fares.

Steve Burd, managing director of Stagecoach Midlands, said: “We understand that this will be frustrating for our passengers. Unfortunately we have had to take some difficult decisions but we have done our best to keep fare changes to a minimum.

“We are facing continued rising costs in a number of areas of our business and we are seeing reduced public sector support for bus services as local authority budgets continue to be squeezed.

“We have worked hard to keep fares down for those who rely on the bus the most. As the cost of motoring continues to rise, our bus services continue to offer a greener, smarter and better value way to travel and we are committed to re-investing income from fares in further improvements for passengers.”