MP launches probe into bus fare hike

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole was today trying to arrange a meeting with transport ministers after the government was blamed for a 20p hike in town bus fares.

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole was today trying to arrange a meeting with transport ministers after the government was blamed for a 20p hike in town bus fares.

Ipswich Buses has put up its basic one-way fare in the town from £1.50 to £1.70 - and bus bosses said a change in subsidies from the government was responsible for the extent of the increase.

Managing director Malcolm Robson said: “We knew there would have to be a bit of an increase and until last week we were looking at 10p. That would have covered the increase in the cost of fuel.

“But then fuel duty was raised, and for the first time the government did not issue a rebate for public transport operators - that means we have to pass the cost of that on to passengers.


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“Also we are carrying about 15 per cent more concessionary passengers travelling free but the amount we are getting has not kept pace with that - in fact it is coming down a bit.

“All those factors meant we had to put the prices up by 20p for the basic journey.”

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Bus company chairman Paul West was disappointed by the rise.

“It does seem as if the government is sending out the wrong messages a bit with this,” he said.

“We are supposed to try to encourage people on to the buses but then they change things like this to force us to put the prices up.”

Mr Mole said he would be in touch with the bus company to try to find out about the problem with the fuel rebate and would attempt to find out from the government why the latest increase would not be refunded.

He said: “If the changes have caused the company problems I would certainly like to see what I can do to help.”

The increases did not impress passengers.

Beverley Gee, who travels from Dales Road to the town most days, said: “It's quite a steep rise. It doesn't sound much on its own but if you travel in every day it will soon mount up.”

And Trevor Chapman, from the Belstead Road area, said: “They've put the prices up four times the rate of inflation - soon only the super-rich will be able to afford a bus journey.”

Adult bus fares:

A single bus fare for most Ipswich Buses journeys is now £1.70

A greensaver seven ticket costs £11 - a saving of 90p.

A weekly season ticket costs £14.

A monthly season ticket costs £48.

A six-monthly ticket costs £250

An annual season ticket costs £470.

Greensaver tickets can be bought from any Paypoint centre - including most Co-op stores.

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