Cambridge bus users hit out over latest fare hike from Stagecoach

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Cash-strapped passengers will have to dig a little deeper to use Cambridgeshire’s buses after a recent hike in Stagecoach prices.

As of Sunday, the price of the Dayrider ticket rose from £4 to £4.10, while the weekly Megarider ticket rose from £13.50 to £14 for paper tickets bought on a bus, or £13 to £13.50 for those buying Smart tickets.

Those paying on a monthly basis will also need to find a few extra pennies as the price of Megarider Extra monthly fare rose from £45.50 to £47.50, a 4.4 per cent increase.

The hike has sparked anger among some bus users, with Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the city, Daniel Zeichner, hitting out at the move.

He said: “There is always a big fuss about rail fare increases, but it’s time to put a stop to the endless bus fare rises too.

“At the moment there is absolutely nothing passengers can do, except pay up.

“Bus fares in Cambridge are too expensive and contribute to the congestion that is in danger of strangling the city.”

However a spokesman for Stagecoach said the price increases were justified.

They explained employee wages, fuel costs and insurance all had to be taken into account when setting fare prices.

The firm’s spokesman added: “Stagecoach has been independently found to have the lowest bus fares in Britain and our customers have also rated us the best value bus operator in the country.

“Fares are set according to a number of different factors and costs for bus operators are continuing to rise.

“Issues such as road congestion, which regularly affects road users in Cambridge, also impact on ticket prices.

“Money from fares is spent on new greener and more accessible buses and other improvements for customers – in Cambridge we have invested £17million in new vehicles over the past seven years.”

County councillor Kilian Bourke, who has previously campaigned for the region’s bus services, said he was “very concerned” at how high bus fares had become.

He added: “We need more local control over buses, a bit like Transport for London.

“That way we could look at bundling the most profitable services with socially necessary but less viable ones to meet local need, and also have a bigger say over routes, frequencies, and ticket prices.”

The price increase comes just weeks after Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach Cambridgeshire, revealed the firm was looking into high-tech solutions to make his fleet more environmentally friendly.