Lothian Buses to raise fares again

LOTHIAN Buses today confirmed it was raising the cost of adult single tickets by 10p from later this month.

LOTHIAN Buses today confirmed it was raising the cost of adult single tickets by 10p from later this month.

The rise will take the standard flat-fare price of a journey with the Capital’s biggest bus operator from £1.40 to £1.50. Child fares, night-bus tickets and Ridacard prices will remain unchanged.

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The company said it was also introducing a number of service improvements, including additional buses on its most popular routes and improved Sunday services.

The fare increase and service changes will both take effect from Sunday, March 24.

The Evening News revealed plans for a 10p fare increase in January amid controversy over Scottish Government cuts in funding for concessionary fares.

Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland eventually reached an agreement with the bus industry which will cut the current reimbursement rate of 67p in the pound for every journey made under the concessionary fares scheme, reducing funding to bus companies by millions of pounds.

The latest price rise comes just a year after a similar hike and will mean the lowest available fare will have risen 150 per cent in the past ten years – three times the rate of inflation. In March last year, Lothian Buses increased the cost of an adult single ticket by 10p to £1.40, while an adult day ticket went up by 30p to £3.50.

The company blamed a multi-million pound cut in the Bus Service Operators Grant from the Scottish Government and a drop in revenue as a result of passengers snubbing the city centre to avoid tram works.

The latest 10p hike is expected to rake in more than £11 million a year for the operator – if half of its annual 
111 million passengers pay the single adult fare.

Lothian Buses managing director Ian Craig said: “We continue to invest in our services to meet customer needs.

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“We know price increases are never welcome and always endeavour to keep fares as low as possible.

“The continued expansion of our network has created another 30 full-time jobs, which is only possible by our customers’ continued strong support.”

Lothian Buses, which is owned by Edinburgh, East Lothian, West Lothian and Midlothian councils, is the only municipal bus company in Scotland, and the UK’s largest publicly-owned bus company.

In 2011, it introduced hybrid buses to its fleet, the first 
double-decker hybrid buses in Scotland.

The company said its most recent investments included £2.5m in ten hybrid single deckers for use on the number 1 service from next month, £2.5m in 15 conventional single deckers for use on the 21 service from May this year, and £10m in new and refurbished facilities at its Longstone depot.

A host of changes to services and timetables will take place from March 24. Full details are available on the bus firm’s website.