Guernsey Bus Users Group (BUG) responds to Environment Department’s Proposal to Increase bus fare

June 25th, 2010 by Fergus

The Bus Users Group responds to the proposal for a 67% hike in bus fares to commence on 10 August 2010.  The period of Public Consultation ends on 9 July.

“We have some sympathy for the proposed bus fare increase.  Guernsey bus fares are very low.  So, although we love the fares the way they are, as our on-line survey showed in January, in principle we were ready to be flexible.

We are glad also that the Ormer Card is to keep it’s big discount for frequent travellers.”

However, unfortunately, there is a trace of muddle about the States of Guernsey Environment Department’s bus fare increase proposal.

The evidence of the challenge is around us daily. Town’s car parks are crowded out by office workers who are either forced into early-morning camp-outs, or mid-morning parking clock fiddling. Commuters along the eastern sea-front suffer lengthy traffic jams.

The sensible course of action would be to match the bus fare increase with:

  • an honest attempt to avoid more cars coming into town as a consequence
  • a bus schedule which is more friendly to office workers.

The Environment Department, like politicians around the world, have started to “tell it like it is”.   However, the truth seems to be coming out incomplete. To say that a 67% bus fare hike will “not compromise the policies of the Road Transport Policy”, or that buses only benefit bus users, not other tax payers, is creeping double-speak.

A higher bus fare, announced in isolation, will tend to push people off buses and into cars, whether or not an economist would argue that bus demand is “price-inelastic”.

The buses benefit all taxpayers, not just bus users. The benefits are felt by many people who may never dream of getting on a bus, for example:

  • businessmen whose deliveries arrive on time
  • active drivers whose elderly and teenage relatives are less dependent on them
  • car commuters whose traffic jams are shorter than they would be if everyone else used a car too.

BUG urges bus users to take full advantage of the two week consultation period and air some home truths about bus economics.

Tell us what you think at www.bug.gg .

Better still tell the States of Guernsey Environment Department at env(at)gov.gg, and also your States Deputies.

“However, there is no need to be antagonistic about this.   The fare rise is acceptable as part of a roll-out of the existing, agreed Road Transport Strategy.  If we keep up the dialogue, possibly the bus fare increase proposal from the States of Guernsey Environment Department will even bring that about.”

“The alternative, a disjointed approach, would only speed the day when we may lose the buses altogether.”

Contact: Bus Users Group – Coordinator Fergus on 07781 117980

or email: coordinator(at)bug.gg    Please replace ” (at) ” with the ” @ ” symbol.

  1. No Comments

Have your say