PASSENGERS have raised concerns with bus chiefs about fare hikes in Dorset.
They spoke to First Dorset staff at Weymouth’s bus hub on The Esplanade to find out how the changes, designed to simplify the fares system, will affect them.
The changes, which came into effect on Saturday, March 1, will see a rise in fares for passengers making longer journeys but a reduction in price for some fares.
Simon Newport, general manager for First Dorset, was among the staff answering passengers’ questions.
He said: “We’ve spoken to about 30 people so far.
“The last time fares went up was December 2012. It has been a long time since we changed our fares and we have to balance the books.
“We’ve introduced fare zones which means that people can buy one through ticket at the start of their journey.
“If someone is going from Portland to Poole they can buy the whole journey in one ticket and know how much it’s going to be.”
Mr Newport said he wanted to talk to passengers to make them fully aware of the changes.
Mum Kelly Talbot, 29, from Fortuneswell, Portland, said she’ll have to pay £2 a week more for her 12-year-old daughter Jasmine’s bus pass to travel daily from the island to Budmouth College and back.
The price has gone up from £13 to £15.
She said: “This is going to stretch us financially. Things aren’t cheap at the moment and I think if they are going to put it up they should really try to improve the service more and not have a long wait then three buses arriving at once.”
She said: “I am disabled but my disability isn’t classed in the category to have a free bus pass. I pay a full fare and do find it expensive.”
Parents Jamie David, 32, and Sandi Cleaver, 27, of Tophill, Portland, regularly catch the bus to Weymouth.
They said they find the £2.20 return fare for a child expensive.
Sandi said: “Jamie used to work in Dorchester and it became very expensive for him going on the bus.
“Now he works on the island and walks to work and it saves a lot of money.”
Jamie said long-distance journeys on the bus for a family work out to be very costly if different bus companies are involved.
He said: “We did a return journey from Portland to Puddletown and it was around £30.
“I think that the £17.50 unlimited travel First does for a family is good value though.”
How prices will change
But the same ticket could be used for onward travel to anywhere else within Weymouth.
Single fares in Weymouth were £1.40, £1.70 or £1.90.
They are now all a flat price of £1.80 or £3 for a return.
The hop-on, hop-off ticket has been scrapped and replaced with an open return ticket for travel between two locations, which should save the passenger money depending on the distance travelled, Mr Newport said.
For a full list of changes see firstgroup.com/dorset or call 0870 0106022.