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Bus fares rise as First Group increases prices on several Suffolk routes

Fares on First Eastern Counties buses in Suffolk are set to change - with some rising but others staying the same. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Fares on First Eastern Counties buses in Suffolk are set to change - with some rising but others staying the same. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

First Eastern Counties have raised fares on many of its day, week, month and annual bus tickets in Suffolk.

The company, which operates services in areas including Ipswich, Woodbridge, Lowestoft and Felixstowe, brought in its new fare prices on January 11.

In the "Ipswich zone", fares have risen by 10p for adult singles and up to 20p for returns.

However the company is freezing prices of all single, day and High5 group tickets in the Lowestoft and Coastal zones, which cover areas including Southwold, Halesworth, Blythburgh and Kessingland.

The firm, a subsidiary of First Group, also announced that 10-trip tickets would only be available as an mTicket - available on the First Bus app - and no longer sold on the buses in an attempt to speed up boarding times.

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties, said the fare increases were to balance the ever-increasing costs of running and improving the services.

He said: "Over the past 18 months we have expanded our bus networks and invested in upgrading our fleet to improve public transport provision with further plans to develop our offering to bus users over the coming months.

"To balance the ever-increasing costs incurred in running a business and to further improve services and links to community hubs across the city, towns and county, we need to revise some of the fares we charge for travel.

"However, many single and return fares have remained unchanged but some will see a 10p to 20p increase dependant on the route and location being travelled.

"Some of our day tickets have seen an increase of 10p and our week tickets £1 to £2 dependant on ticket type. This is the first increase in three years that some of our mTicket prices have been revised."

Mr Speed said the company's ticketing was now predominantly done online, with just 40% of tickets being bought on board a bus.

He said: "It is great to see how people are moving towards our digital platforms to pay for their travel with over 60% of all transactions now being made by contactless or mobile phone payment.

"These methods vastly improve boarding times and help with making services more reliable."

For a full list of bus fares, visit www.firstgroup.com/norfolk-suffolk/tickets/ticket-prices


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