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Bus passengers face further fare hike despite cuts to services, Labour warns

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Labour has accused the Government of “running bus services into the ground” after new analysis suggested fares will be 60% higher than in 2010 by the time of the next election.

The party said passengers in England face a “toxic mix” of soaring fares, cuts to services and reduced access - while bus companies “are coining it in with growing profits”.

Fares have shot up by 27% since the Conservatives came to power - originally as part of the Coalition government -  according to Department for Transport figures.

Labour said if they continue rising at the same rate as they have over the previous five years, they will be 60% higher in 2022 than they were in 2010.

The party also claimed local bus service revenues outside London steadily increasing while operating costs have reduced.

According to the Campaign for Better Transport some 2,400 bus routes have been cut since 2010 - a figure Labour claims will rise to 4,800 by 2022.

Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald said: “The Tories said deregulation would improve our buses but they are running the bus services into the ground.

“Passengers now face a toxic mix of rising fares, cuts to services and reduced access. Meanwhile, private companies are coining it in with growing profits.”

He added: “Enough is enough. Labour will rescue bus services. We will give councils the freedom to run first class bus services which the public are proud of.

“For too long the bus industry has put profit for a few before millions of passengers. A future Labour Government will change that.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson responded: “Bus fares in England, outside of London, are provided by commercial operators who are responsible for setting fares and we expect them to offer passengers value for money. When adjusted for inflation, fares have risen by on average 1.25% over each of the last twelve years.  

“To encourage bus use and improve journeys for passengers, we provide around £250m to support bus services every year, benefiting people up and down the country and nearly 10 million older and disabled people in England get free off-peak bus travel.”

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