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Bus fare increase in West Midlands aimed at sustaining vital services

Posted: 14 June 2024 | | No comments yet

Bus fares in the West Midlands are set to rise by 6% at the end of June 2024, as operators grapple with escalating expenses while striving to maintain essential public transport services.

Bus fare increase in West Midlands aimed at sustaining vital services

Credit: West Midlands Combined Authority

In an effort to maintain the current service levels amidst rising operational costs, fares for day and season bus tickets across the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) area are set to increase by an average of 6% by the end of June 2024. This decision, unanimously agreed upon by all bus operators within TfWM, aims to address ongoing financial challenges exacerbated by significant increases in fuel, maintenance and labour costs in recent years.

Under the new fare structure, the nBus day ticket will rise by 30p to £4.80, while the four-week fare will increase from £60 to £64. Despite these adjustments, officials emphasise that the fares continue to offer competitive value compared to equivalent services in Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester.

The single fare remains capped at £2 as part of an agreement with the Department for Transport (DfT), ensuring affordability for passengers until at least the end of 2024.

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Pete Bond, Director of Integrated Transport Services at TfWM, said: “Despite many challenges we have worked with bus operators since the pandemic to keep fare rises to an absolute minimum. And even though they are rising, fares remain great value for the many people who rely on buses day in and day out. At the same time we are working on plans to secure the long-term future of our bus network and will announce the results of the review in the coming weeks.” 

The decision comes amidst an ongoing review initiated by TfWM in 2023 to evaluate the long-term sustainability of bus services in the West Midlands. Scheduled for reporting to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board in July 2024, the review aims to secure the future of the bus network amid persistently high demand, with approximately 232 million journeys made annually.

Despite financial pressures, TfWM continues to invest approximately £50 million annually into the bus network to support essential services and avoid more drastic fare hikes or service reductions. This commitment underscores buses’ crucial role in reducing car dependency, alleviating traffic congestion, improving air quality and meeting the region’s net-zero carbon targets.

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