Bus fares remain good value for money, says TAS
Despite rising inflationary costs for operators, the 2022 National Bus Fare survey once again confirmed that the bus remains good value for money for passengers.
The study by transport specialists The TAS Partnership reports the average price of a single ticket costs £2.47, with the average single fare falling 0.1% over the last three years as a result of low fare schemes in Cornwall, West of England, Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire.
The survey also highlighted that contactless payment technology, as well as more variety of tickets on offer, are improving the customer experience for passengers. This is following a change in people’s travelling habits since Covid.
The latest data saw The TAS Partnership analyse 1,242 sample three-mile bus journeys across Great Britain, excluding London, during September 2022.
The report found the lowest single fare for an adult travelling three miles was offered by Richards Bros in Fishguard, at 90p. The operator also had the lowest average single fare at £1.25.
Taking the bus in 2022 was also far cheaper than running a car, with a weekly bus ticket representing just under 3% of the weekly wage and a private vehicle, over 9% (without any form of finance or congestion charges). Stagecoach North Scotland’s Peterhead Megarider was the cheapest weekly ticket sampled at £9.60.
“The bus sector continues to adapt to changes in technology, demand and political thinking” – TAS Senior Consultant, Matthew Moll
TAS Senior Consultant, Matthew Moll, said: “The bus sector continues to adapt to changes in technology, demand and political thinking.
“The last year has shown that operators have continued to absorb cost increases with average weekly ticket price increasing by only 7.5% since 2019 compared to a 19.7% increase in RPI.”
“Despite inflationary pressures operators are facing, travelling by bus remains great value for money” – Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “Despite inflationary pressures operators are facing, travelling by bus remains great value for money for existing passengers and those looking to save money or change their travel habits, with the average weekly ticket costing less outside London than within it.
“Not only can people travel in comfort, but key investment made by bus companies means that now all journeys can be made using contactless payment.”
“We spend much time convincing politicians and other stakeholders of the benefits of good bus services, and it is only with accurate data that we can make our points hit home” – Bill Hiron, Managing Director Stephensons of Essex and Chair of the Association of Local Bus Managers (ALBUM)
Bill Hiron, Managing Director Stephensons of Essex and Chair of the Association of Local Bus Managers (ALBUM), said: “ALBUM is delighted to support TAS’s 2022 National Bus Fares Survey. We spend much time convincing politicians and other stakeholders of the benefits of good bus services, and it is only with accurate data that we can make our points hit home. Work such as this is invaluable in providing the ammunition we need in shaping the debate.”
37% of samples journeys covering 41 operators could be paid for via a Tap-on Tap-off (TOTO) contactless capping system. Most operators offering TOTO did not offer any discount on day and weekly travel over the purchase of a day or weekly ticket by cash. However, capping ensures that passengers pay no more than the cost of day or weekly tickets.
This contrasts with mobile ticketing with an average discount of 2% for a weekly mobile ticket compared with buying a ticket when boarding a bus. Go-Ahead offered the highest operating group discount of 8% and the highest individual product discount of 19% for Go North East’s Tyne & Wear seven days ticket.
Flexible or carnet tickets, where multiple individual tickets are purchased in bulk, have become more popular since Covid, according to the report. This is a response to the perceived change in working patterns. There are no industry wide standards for product type or discount, however the most common are day tickets in bundles of five and ten, with 62% and 31% of sample journeys able to be made with these products respectively. On average, a five-day carnet offered 20% discount over buying five individual day tickets, with First Bus offering the highest average discount at 25%. The ten-day carnets offered on average 23% discount with Stagecoach offering an average of 30% discount over buying ten individual day tickets.