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An affordable high

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The integrated transport authorities of Tyne and Wear and West Yorkshire are banging the drum loudest for bus Quality Contracts in Britain’s provincial conurbations. On 22 September 2012, BBC News reported the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority’s view that Quality Contracts would

“simplify” bus fares and make them “more affordable”.

What does ‘making bus services more affordable’ actually mean? Well, apparently, it means 20% of bus users would see the cost of travel increase, as Passenger Transport reported on 3 October.

Bus users in Tyne & Wear could see fares increase if plans by Nexus, the local PTE, for the introduction of Quality Contracts are introduced.

The PTE admitted at a meeting of the Tyne & Wear Integrated Transport Authority last week that 20% of bus users would face higher fares if moves to increase industry regulation were realised.

Nexus adds that the remaining passengers in the region would pay bus fares that are “broadly in line with current levels (within 3% of the current price for a single/day ticket or within 5% for a season ticket)”.

More details of the QC plans were also released at last week’s meeting. Nexus says there would be 22 separate contracts, varying in size and requiring from 10 to 95 vehicles. All of the contracts would be tendered at the same time and run for either five years (three years plus a two year extension) or 10 years (seven years plus a three-year extension). Some services would extend into neighbouring Northumberland and Durham.

Fares would also be restructured with the introduction of a zonal fares arrangement. Bus fares would also be harmonised with those on the Tyne & Wear Metro light rail system which would be integrated into the new network.

What does ‘integrating’ Tyne & Wear Metro into the network mean? It probably means the early 1980s arrangement of re-routeing buses to Metro stations, and away from central Newcastle-upon-Tyne, thereby replacing direct no-change public transport trips with slower indirect ones.

So, hands up. Who wants higher bus fares, and enforced interchange?

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Written by beleben

October 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm

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