Bus passengers hit with 40% fare hike

A BUS company has defended its near 40 per cent hike in fares.

Centrebus slapped the staggering increase on passengers travelling on the 528 Halifax to Rochdale service.

They were stunned to find their weekly ticket went up from £14 to £19.50.

Commercial director Dave Shelley said the rise was necessary because of an anomaly that previously existed.

“That allowed the use of the West Yorkshire weekly ticket all the way to Rochdale. It was threatening the future of the 528 service,” he said.

“Quite simply, it just was not economic to provide the service where daily travel was just £2.80 per day, compared to a single fare of £2.90 from Halifax to Rochdale.”

He said the new price was comparable to other similar tickets such as Metrocard, SystemOne travelcards and First’s own weekly tickets.

“At £19.50, the ticket still represents excellent value compared to standard single and return fares, but at a level which will be economic for the future of the 528,” said Mr Shelley.

But, passengers aren’t happy.

One disgruntled customer catches the 7.55am service from Halifax to Rochdale for work and said the near £290 annual rise would be the equivalent of a week’s wage for many.

“I got my ticket on Tuesday and was shocked it had gone up so much,” he said. “I’m not going to get a wage rise at work and if they had reduced the rise it would have made a difference.”

A Metro spokesman said the latest inflation-busting rises were commercial decisions taken by the operating companies.

Last week First and Arriva upped their bus fares. Arriva put 10p on fares under £2 and 20p on higher fares in West Yorkshire.

First increased fares by an average of five per cent.