Conservatives back low-price ‘flat fare’ for Bath buses

Conservatives in Bath have given their backing to the idea of introducing a low-price flat-rate fare system for buses in the city.

The calls come as the city’s main bus operator First prepares to announce the outcome of a bus fare review which the company recently undertook in the area.  In Bristol, where the company completed a similar review of its fares last year, a simpler ‘three tier’ system was introduced, with a 30% discount for under-21s and 50% off the ticket price for under-16s.

Now, local Conservatives have said they will be pressing for a similar simplification to take place in Bath and the surrounding area.

Members of B&NES Council’s Planning, Transport and Environment scrutiny committee are due to receive from First Bus on their ‘Fairer Fares’ review next Monday, at which it is hoped the company will give an indication of the likely changes which will take place as a result of the review.

Conservative councillors have promised to use the opportunity to press the company on to adopt the idea of a lower flat-fare system in the area.

Conservative Councillor Marie Longstaff, who chairs the Planning, Transport and Environment committee, said:

“We welcome the fact that FirstBus has undertaken this ‘Fairer Fares’ review and welcome the opportunity to hear from them about the changes planned to bus fares in Bath.  We understand that one of the options under consideration is a flat-rate fare for the whole of the city.

“Obviously we need to hear more details from First, including what the ticket price would be, to ensure that the new fare system is beneficial and cheaper for all passengers.  But in principle the idea of a low-price flat-rate fare is something which Conservative councillors are very supportive of, perhaps with an additional ‘short hop’ ticket like they have in Bristol.”

Conservative shadow transport spokesman, Cllr Anthony Clarke, added:

“Conservative members of the scrutiny panel have promised to throw their weight behind the idea of having a simpler, cheaper fare system for local buses.  Making bus travel a cheaper, more convenient travel option for people needs to play an important part of improving our local transport system and cutting congestion.”