Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Bus services - what cost ?

Got a small shock on the bus today finding out the bus fare had gone up, expected, around 20%, size not expected.

There are two questions, why and what effect will it have ?

Why is easy, I suspect increased fuel costs being passed on, and with some many users having free bus passes, it won't alienate much of their clientèle. A quick check of the profits of First Group http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-15654551 shows them to be healthy, not surprising as it is an monopoly.

What effect ? As I have already suggest I suspect not much amongst the current clientèle, but amongst those possible converts from the car ? You can already see the outcry, How much ! It only costs me ... to drive, fill in as appropriate. That is not going to help us who believe in a greener future.

It makes me interested with peak oil coming shortly, for an explanation see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil, what can the council do ? Well actually nothing, we have no powers, that horrible woman Thatcher again. Not quite true, actually a little. We have powers to do what we want for the economic and social well-being of the area. So in theory we could set up a bus company if we wanted, and make it cheaper, but could we as a council make it work ? Sadly the answer is probably no. as with running the Spa, being run by an excellent company. First is good at what it does, it does cut corners, still get lots of complaints about the early 14, but the council doesn't have that expertise. The council would run a worse service. We are stuck with what we have got, a good company, but high prices, no carrot to turn away from the motor car.

It is sad that yet again the environment is subject to the whim of shareholders who want the maximum return.


Philip C James said...

Nigel, I blah blah on about a proper public transport system (having experienced one in Munich when I lived there) but there are some things that offer a ray of sunshine in the UK.

Firstly (pardon pun), I don't believe it is necessary to invest council capital in a wholly-owned bus company but to take the powers to commission services and set fares as a regional authority (with BCC, NSC, WCC etc). Companies like First Group provide the buses to TfL but are far more tightly controlled in terms of service delivery and pricing by TfL. And London Buses (Transport in general) is a success story for the UK.

Secondly, I would rather walk than pay First Bus prices for lousy service in Bath these days. Health and Weight Loss benefits apply!

fantavergin said...

We're stuck with what we had, a good company, but the high price, no carrots turned against motor vehicles.

cabs in kingston

Ming said...

I've discovered Somerbus - it'll do a single from Odd Down to town for a quid - they're a small company, it only runs once an hour, not at weekends - but if we don't use them then First will as usual have its own way.


Actually - I prefer to walk or cycle but the wife uses Somerbus where possible.

Ming said...

Correct link (I hope)


Ming said...

Cancel that and just google somerbus as the links get truncated !!!