Bus fare hike an 'insult' to villagers, says councillor
THE First bus company say they are prepared to look again at a "fundamental shake-up" of bus fares which will see some passengers face a hike of more than 35 per cent.
Cornwall councillor Sue James has pointed out that, from Sunday, the bus fare between Pendeen and Penzance looks set to rise by £2, with a return journey now setting travellers back £7.50 – previously it was £5.50.
The price increase comes two months after the service to Pendeen was changed, with the bus stopping halfway into the village and leaving some residents with a longer walk to the bus stop. The journey time was also increased as a result of the route alterations.
Mrs James said the price rise would really affect the community and added it was even more of an insult given the reduced accessibility of the service.
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"There will be many people who will struggle to pay this and it is likely to be counter-productive as fewer people will use the bus," she said.
"I am concerned that this follows a worsening of the service to people in the village. Pay more and get a worse service does not seem like a good deal."
She added a local unemployed man, who did not want to be named, said he will "struggle to afford to pay the fare" as he goes to Penzance to claim Jobseekers' Allowance twice a month.
A First spokesperson said: "For the first time in decades, we are introducing a fundamental shake-up of fares and tickets in Cornwall.
"This will make it simpler and easier for our customers to understand and for us to market to those who do not currently use the bus, partly due to the bewildering array of prices and tickets.
"When you simplify fares in this way, there always will be winners and losers – some fares will go up, but many customers will see a reduction. We're taking the chance to introduce better deals for young people and families too.
"We acknowledge that applying the new, simple fare scale to the St Just route could result in significant increases for some customers, so we are reviewing this urgently to try to improve the situation for our loyal passengers on that route."