Ipswich Buses reintroducing 10-trip tickets after parents voice anger
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Buses is set to reintroduce 10-trip tickets for students after parents voiced concerns over rising ticket prices.
The U-turn comes after the bus company announced the tickets would be scrapped from September, with all "multi-contact" paper tickets abolished to improve health and safety. It also included fare rises, which remain.
Parents had voiced concerns over the removal of the tickets, which provided extra flexibility – especially for those who have children regularly attending after school clubs or sporting events.
Ipswich Buses general manager Steve Bryce said the company has listened to and understood people's concerns, with changes set to be announced in the next 24 hours.
One of those parents affected, Westerfield man Jason Kirk, said his family faced the prospect of paying £1,200 a year to send his two children on the 914 school service to Debenham should they have been scrapped.
The figure covered the price of three term tickets each – with the equivalent full-year ticket for an under-20 on a standard rural Ipswich Buses service being £50 cheaper. Those services are not restricted by term-times.
First Suffolk run a similar service between Ipswich and Debenham for £135 per term.
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Speaking before the U-turn, Mr Kirk said he felt the prices were "a rip off" – but has since said he is "pleased" by the changes.
He said earlier: "I just don't understand how it can cost £550 for an annual ticket for children who use a bus for school in Framlingham, but for Debenham you pay £600 and only get term-time coverage.
"I absolutely get that we have to pay – we chose to send our children to a school out of catchment, I understand that we should be paying.
"I just think it's a straight a rip-off."
Mr Bryce said Ipswich Buses can now offer "a suitable and good value product" for all customers.
He said: “As we plan our recovery from the pandemic, we are continuously looking at ways to make bus travel across our whole network easier and to incentivise regular travel for people of all age groups.
"Following the announcement of our new fare structure for September, we had feedback from a number of parents who felt that with the changes to their own work patterns – which could include more flexi or home working – the removal of the 10-journey ticket did not reflect the needs of the new normal many of our customers now face.
"After listening to this feedback we have decided to reinstate the 10-journey ticket, which will be available as a smart card.
"Our company was in the final stages of preparing to announce our revised ticket range for school buses when I was contacted by the Ipswich Star for a comment."