Passengers face hike in bus fares

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BUS fares in South Tyneside are set to rise.

Stagecoach, which runs 17 bus routes in the borough, has announced it is increasing fares by an average of 6.8 per cent.

From April 1, tickets on the firm’s buses will go up 10p, adding up to £1 a week in travelling to work costs.

The price hike is the second for commuters this year, after Metro tickets rose by 10p on January 1, with additional rises in weekly, monthly and annual passes.

The new year also saw an increase in tolls charged at the Tyne Tunnels, with car drivers now shelling out £1.40 per journey between South and North Tyneside – an extra 20p.

Stagecoach say rising costs and a Government hike in fuel tax has forced the increase on the company.

Single fares in South Shields will rise by 6.9 per cent, higher than the North East average, with weekly tickets increasing by 7.1 per cent.

Dayrider tickets will cost an extra 5.7 per cent.

An independent survey last year found that Stagecoach offered the best value bus fares of any major operator in the UK.

Prices were found to be up to 20 per cent lower than other companies.

Stagecoach say that the Government’s 20 per cent cut in Bus Service Operators Grant, a scheme that refunds some of the fuel duty incurred by operators of registered local bus services, combined with the planned 3p fuel duty rise, would increase overheads.

John Conroy, managing director of Stagecoach North East, said: “These damaging Government cuts and tax hike, combined with other rising costs, are having a direct impact on bus fares and services across England.

“We share the frustration of our passengers, many of whom are on some of the lowest incomes.

“Along with businesses, they are already being squeezed by higher bills and energy prices.

“We have had to take some very tough decisions, but we have worked hard to keep fares down for those who rely on the bus the most.

“Our bus services continue to offer a greener, smarter and better value way to travel and we will also continue to re-invest the income from fares in improvements for passengers.”

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