SOME bus fares are going up in Weymouth, Portland and west Dorset as the area’s main passenger transport provider announced a pricing overhaul.
First Dorset says the restructuring has come about because its system has become ‘complicated’ with passengers not getting best value for money. The changes come into effect on Saturday.
While the system is being simplified and some fares are coming down, there are concerns that passengers will be hit by fare hikes on certain journeys.
First is introducing ‘fare zones’ so passengers can buy one through ticket for their journey rather than several on each leg of their journey.
These will replace existing day tickets and give people the option of breaking journeys without paying extra.
In Weymouth the new fare zone – now just one ticket of £1.80 for a single fare or £3 for a return – would be the same price for people travelling from Littlemoor to the town centre or the shorter journey of Lodmoor to the town centre. But the same ticket could be used for onward travel to anywhere else within Weymouth.
Single fares in Weymouth are currently £1.40, £1.70 or £1.90.
Bus campaigner Jackie Isbell who set up a Facebook protest group amid concerns over First services, said she personally felt services have improved and buses are more reliable.
But she said of the restructuring: “While these changes may be better for some passengers it will hit those people who just want to go a few stops.
“There will be a lot of people upset by this.”
First says the changes, implemented after feedback, will result in many return journeys costing £1 more than a single journey of £2.50 and over.
General Manager for First Dorset Simon Newport said: “We decided that introducing simpler fares would result in less hassle for our customers.
“To this end, we have completely overhauled the way our fares are structured to make it more user-friendly and easier for First’s customers to understand.
“There will be fare increases on some services but this is to make fares consistent throughout the region and to ensure that bus travel in Dorset remains excellent value for money.”
*First has been embroiled in a dispute with drivers from the Unite union over pay. Drivers will vote on a pay offer later this week.
Sample adult fares include
Any journey within Weymouth: single £1.80 and return £3
Weymouth to Portland: single £2.20, and return £3.50
Weymouth to Dorchester: single £3 and return £4
Weymouth to Bridport: single £4.50 and return £5.50
Sample child fares (aged 5-16) include
Weymouth journeys: single £1.20 and return £2.20
Weymouth to Portland: single £1.70 and return £2.50
Weymouth to Dorchester: single £2 and return £3
Weymouth to Bridport: single £3.50 and return £4.50
Period ticket changes include
Weymouth adult weekly tickets unaffected
Weymouth Plus adult weekly tickets unaffected
Weymouth child weekly tickets unaffected
Weymouth Plus child weekly tickets withdrawn
Weymouth adult monthly tickets will rise from £38 to £45
Weymouth Plus adult monthly tickets will rise from £50 to £55 Weymouth
Plus child monthly tickets will be withdrawn