Bus Fare Consultation - FAQs
1. Why are you undertaking the survey/consultation?
Essex County Council seeks to consult with Essex residents about raising bus fares on specific routes over a 3 year period, to understand the impact this would have on passengers. This is not a consultation on bus services across Essex with a view to reducing service provision.
2. When does the consultation close?
The consultation will run for 6 weeks, from Monday 9th May until Friday 17th June 2016.
3. Why are you putting up bus fares?
The Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Delivery will make a decision on the proposal to increase bus fares on the allocated routes following the consultation. Bus fares on our non-commercial bus services have not been increased for six years and are out of step with commercial bus operators’ fares by 25 per cent. Essex County Council has a duty to make best use of taxpayer’s money so cannot maintain large subsidies on these bus fares. By bringing the fares in line with commercial services, will help to safeguard the services in the future.
4. Will this affect me on my bus?
If you are a fare paying passenger then you may be affected by the change.
5. How can I find out if my bus fare is affected? What bus services will be affected?
All bus routes that may potentially be affected by this change were listed in the consultation.
6. When will the prices rise and by how much?
The proposal is that fares would rise by approximately 5% (rounded up to the nearest 10 pence) year-on-year for three years. For instance a £2 fare will increase to £2.10 in September 2016, £2.20 in 2017 and £2.30 in 2018. This will not affect those using the English National Concessionary Bus Pass. From 1 April 2019 onwards prices will increase in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI), which is set by the Government. See Q. 15 for more information on RPI.
If the decision is taken to increase bus fares on the identified routes, the change will come in to effect from 5th September 2016.
The dates for the increases are planned to be:
The increase will be approximately:
|| Example on £2 ticket
5 September 2016
1 April 2017
1 April 2018
1 April 2019
|| + RPI
7. I’m a concessionary bus pass holder; will I be affected by this change?
Concessionary bus pass holders will not be affected by this change, unless you travel on a bus outside of the ‘free’ travel period and would therefore normally pay for your ticket.
8. I use a park and ride service; will this be affected by the change?
No, park and ride bus services are not included within the consultation so fares will not be affected by the change.
9. Surely you should be encouraging people to travel by bus, won’t this stop people from using the bus?
In order to maintain the bus services identified, it is essential for Essex County Council to review the fares in line with commercial bus operated services. Essex County Council must make best use of tax payers money so cannot continue to provide large subsidies on these bus routes. By bringing the fares in line with commercial services, it will help to safeguard the services in the future.
Please note that concessionary bus pass holders and park and ride users will not be affected by this change.
10. If you haven’t put the fares up for six years why are you doing it now?
Due to a reduction in Central Government funding, Essex County Council has to save £1million a week every week for the next four years. As a result we can no longer afford to maintain large subsidies on bus fares across the county.
11. My Essex County Council Bus Service fares have already gone up – would this affect me?
If your bus service is not listed below and you know it is an Essex County Council supported service, it is likely that it is a ‘nett cost’ contract. This means that your fares are set by the bus operator, not Essex County Council. We do not have any control over these fares. If your bus service fares are set by ECC and it later moves to a ‘nett cost’ contract or commercial service, Essex County Council will no longer have any control over the fares.
12. Why does it affect some buses and not others?
The proposed changes will only affect those bus services where the fares are set by Essex County Council and operated on a ‘gross cost’ contract.
13. You’ve put up council tax by 4 per cent so why are you putting up my bus fare?
In order to maintain the bus services identified, it is essential for Essex County Council to review the fares in line with commercial bus operated services. Essex County Council must make best use of tax payers money so cannot continue to provide large subsidies on these bus routes. By bringing the fares in line with commercial services, will help to safeguard the services in the future.
14. Are all fares not retained by Essex County Council? Why not?
Not all fares are retained by Essex County Council; some are retained by the operator on what is termed a "nett cost" contract. This is where Essex County Council pays the operator less than a "gross cost" contract (on a gross cost contract Essex County Council keeps the revenue) so that the operator has an incentive to build up the revenue and grow the service to make money out of it, with the aim to make the service commercial in the future. On a nett cost contract, the operator sets the bus fares.
15. What is RPI?
RPI is the Retail Price Index. It is a government set level of how prices are rising.
16. What is a BITE Proof of Age card?
A BITE Proof of Age card is a PASS accredited ID card that enables a young person to show they are entitled to a child discount by age. It helps bus drivers to identify where a young person, who may look older than they are, should be charged a child rate ticket. You can find out more about the BITE card by visiting the Essex County Council BITE Card webpage.
17. What is a Buscard?
A Buscard is a discount card available on a very limited number of bus routes in the west of Essex. It costs £10 and is available to anyone under the age of 25 in education or training. Information can be found on the Essex County Council ECC tickets webpage. No new routes are being added at this time.
18. When will the decision/outcome be announced to residents?
Following consultation a decision is due to be made by the end of August 2016 which will then be communicated to Essex residents.
19. Who can I contact for further information regarding this consultation?
For questions relating to the Bus Fares consultation, please contact us on 03457 430 430