The introduction of two new bus fare zones has sparked controversy in rural communities who will see the largest increase in prices.
In a statement to service users, Brighton & Hove Bus Company announced the introduction of two zones – CitySaver and NetworkSaver.
Currently, those using the services provided by Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company can buy a return ticket from anywhere within the area using a DaySaver for £4.70.
From the 26th April, this system will change, with those travelling from outside of Brighton & Hove required to purchase a NetworkSaver at an increased charge of £6.50. This will include customers travelling from Seaford, Newhaven and Ringmer. Those passengers only travelling within the city will also see an increase, with fares rising to £5 for a ticket.
MP for Lewes Maria Caulfield said: “It is another slap in the face for those in the rural towns and villages who are more dependant on this bus service and now have to pay more to use it.”
Fares will be less expensive if purchased on the company’s ‘key smartcard’ or downloaded using their mobile app, saving customers outside the CitySaver zone £2 per ticket. However, access to these services is an additional issue according to Ms Caulfield. She said: “I have been campaigning for better broadband and mobile phone signals in the constituency as we are in the bottom 20 per cent of the country for access to these services, which adds an additional complication for travellers wishing to access these facilities.
“When you think oil prices have dropped considerably in the last couple of years it is disappointing the bus company are not passing this on to customers and instead slap a huge rise on passengers.”
The Lewes MP has written a letter to the company, asking them to extend the city zone back to its original boundaries.
She added: “Bus services remain vital to many of my constituents, no matter their age, with residents travelling from across the area to attend college, work and in many cases, health related appointments.
“I am therefore deeply apprehensive by the effect that such an increase could have on constituents. Only recently when speaking with local students, I was informed that the cost of bus travel was already a concern.”
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