South East has highest average daily bus fare - new survey reveals

National Fares Survey.
National Fares Survey.

The South-East (excluding London) has the highest average day bus fare, according to a new survey.

A consultancy group, the TAS Partnership, has outlined the findings which are according to the latest National Fares Survey which was published this week and covers bus fares gathered from October 2015.

According to TAS is shows that while RPI increased by 23% since 2009:

- The average single fare for the region was £2.39 – 8% higher than the national average of £2.21 and 35% higher than in 2009.

- The average day ticket for the region was £5.37 – 11% higher than the GB average of £4.83 and 11% higher than in 2009, more than half the equivalent rise in RPI.

- The average weekly ticket was £17.85 (GB average: £16.74) – 15% higher than in 2009.

- The GB average adult single fare for a three mile trip in 2015 was £2.21, an increase of only 5% since 2013 but 26% since the first survey in 2009.

- Multi-operator bus ticketing is available for 70% of trips reviewed in the region – one percentage point higher than the national average.

- Regionally and nationally, 70% of sample trips had a smartcard ticket option and were issued by participating operators; 51% had a mobile ticketing option across the South-East– a figure which will have since risen (GB average: 50%).

“There is the misconception that multi-operator bus tickets are not widely available in this country,” said Steve Warburton, editor of the survey and TAS director, “but our figures show this is simply not true. The public do have cross-operator choices. Also, despite the political emphasis on smartcards, mobile ticketing has been developed and introduced far more quickly.”

Steve continued: “While rail fares have risen notably above RPI, it is a good news story from the bus industry that the rise in the national costs of day and weekly bus fares have kept below the rate of inflation, on average and that day and weekly average fares have done so for the South-East. This is something the industry should be proud of when faced with significant cost pressures, not least traffic congestion.”

Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users UK, said: “We welcome the latest insights from the TAS Partnership which show that multi-operator ticketing has become more accessible and the cost of bus travel is now more than matching other forms of transport in the main, despite pressures on operators and local authorities during the survey period.

“It’s disappointing that interurban and rural areas are not as well served in this regard and we would hope that all areas catch up soon to ensure that buses are seen as the best travel option for everyone.”

The TAS Partnership is a consultancy whose sole focus and passion is “moving the passenger transport sector forwards via high quality and robust research, analysis and advisory services to the passenger transport sector”.