Increases Proposed to Bus Fares to Reduce Subsidy – Period of Public Consultation closes on 9 July 2010

June 25th, 2010 by States of Guernsey Environment Department

The Environment Department has announced its intention to introduce a series of changes to the structure of fares for travellers on scheduled Guernsey bus services. Whilst fare increases are proposed, passengers will still be able to travel for as little as 50 pence by bulk buying journeys on the Ormer Card.

Under the new fare structure, a single bus journey will be increased from 60p to £1, with fare reductions for regular bus users who purchase Ormer cards of twenty or fifty journeys. There will, at this time, be no change to the existing free concessionary fares that apply to OAPs and certain school children. It is anticipated that changes will be implemented from 1st August.

Deputy Peter Sirett, Minister for the Environment Department said “the recommendation to restructure the fares is necessary in part to cover the increased costs of running the service, but also to more fairly balance the costs of providing a social bus service between the taxpayer and the bus user. The Environment Department believes that the bus service will still represent excellent value for money when compared with other modes of transport and when compared with fares payable for bus services in other jurisdictions”.

Recent analysis has identified that 75% of costs of the current bus service are subsidised by the tax payer. The present financial conditions faced by the States of Guernsey means that the current level of subsidy for bus travel on the Island is unsustainable. The proposals should raise around £400,000 towards operational costs of the bus service and rebalances the level of subsidy currently paid by the taxpayer towards bus journeys.

The proposals for increased fares have been devised with the support of the Financial Transformation Programme, which is actively evaluating where cost and efficiency savings can be made across the States of Guernsey.

Based on a value for money review, the proposed changes to the fare structure are not expected to compromise the policies of the Road Transport Strategy, which aims to promote alternative means of transport.

Hannah Beacom, Managing Director of Island Coachways said “in light of the economic climate the proposed fare structure increase is an entirely understandable recommendation and therefore Island Coachways is supportive of this proposal. Island Coachways provides the island‟s travelling public with quality service and I believe that the proposed fare is still excellent value for our passengers.”

The Environment Department has now entered into a consultation phase on the proposed fare increases.

Members of the public are invited to forward any written comments they have on the proposals to the Environment Department either by letter or email to arrive no later than Friday 9th July 2010.

Contact address and email for consultation phase:

The Traffic and Transport Services Division

The Environment Department

PO Box 145

Bulwer Avenue

St Sampson

Guernsey

GY1 3HY

Emails should be sent to env(at)gov.gg (Please replace (at) with the @ symbol)

Details of Proposed Changes as per La Gazette Officielle notice:

In accordance with the provisions of Section 1(1) of The Public Transport Ordinance, 1986 as amended, notice is hereby given that at a recent meeting of the Environment Department Board the Members voted in favour of altering the fare structure on the scheduled bus services with effect from 1st August 2010 as follows:

The flat “cash‟ fare to be increased from £0.60 to £1.00 per journey; The opportunity to top-up Ormer Cards (discounted multi-journey cards) with ten or thirty journeys will be discontinued; Ormer Card holders will be able to top-up cards with twenty journeys at a cost of £15.00 (75 pence per journey) or with fifty journeys at a cost of £25.00 (50 pence per journey).

The above proposals are aligned to the aims of the Value for Money workstream within the States Financial Transformation Programme (FTP).

7 Responses to “Increases Proposed to Bus Fares to Reduce Subsidy – Period of Public Consultation closes on 9 July 2010”

  1. Pat Wisher

    Living Streets held a meeting about the bus service in February 2010 which was led by Deputy John Gollop. The concensus of that meeting was that fares should be kept cheap as a stimulus to bus use. If fares go up, bus users would expect to see a better bus service – ie. more frequencies, more areas of the island served with a bus service and perhaps more evening services. Living Streets passed on the feelings of the meeting to the Environment Department.

  2. rosie dorey

    Surely we all know by now that we should be trying to reduce the amount that we use our cars, for a variety of increasingly urgent reasons.

    Protecting our local environment is one. Another, is our need to reduce our communities contribution to global GreenHouse Gas emissions, of which our vehicle emissions are the greatest contributor. And rapidly rising rates of obesity, which will be huge future cost for the community means that we need to encourage less sedentary life styles and targeting over-reliance on car travel is an obvious route to take.

    But to do the right thing we need encouragement. Just how does the environment Department think that raising the price of bus travel while keeping car-parking free is going to provide that encouragement? ….crazy!!

  3. Y Burford

    How can this be anything except a retrograde step in efforts to persuade people out of their cars and onto the buses? I would like to know what fall-off in bus use due to increased fares the Minister has assumed in his calculation that this will raise £400,000.

    The Environment Department should start living up to its name.

  4. rosie dorey

    This article talks about the ‘subsidy’ the buses receive from the taxpayer. For the sake of balance, it ought also to mention the huge subsidy that is gifted to the car drivers in the form of free parking on what must be the most valuable real estate in St Peter Port…… again courtesy of the taxpayer.

    Describing this proposed bus fare as ‘excellent value’ when compared to ‘other jurisdictions’ is ridiculous because it is the relative cost between the different forms of transport that matter. This increased fare will mean that driving into town and parking for free will be almost 100% cheaper (less a few pence for petrol) than doing the right thing and leaving the car at home and catching the bus. 200% if you include the return journey. If the bus fare is going to be good value…… how would we describe the free parking?

  5. pennie heyworth

    if Deputy Sirett intends to introduce increased costs to the bus-users he should also do the same for car-users by introducing paid parking. It is not a level playing field and of course people will consider using buses even less now – so even more cars on the roads. Good news for car retailers, I suppose

  6. Jill Klimaschewski

    This may be too late to consider but I am horrified at the misuse of words. How can a huge increase of 40p to one bus fare be termed ‘good value’? Prices do go up, but if any other daily commodity was subject to such an enormous hike, the population would be up in arms.
    I use the bus regularly and am happy to hear visitors, in particular, praising the bus system, its friendly and helpful drivers and inexpensive fares. Over the past few years, I have personally observed how bus usage has increased – and we all know how the locals love their cars. There was even a case of several middle aged men (definitely local, can’t think what had happened to their cars) who obviously hadn’t been on a bus since their school days, grudgingly admitting to each other that it wasn’t too bad at all – and for so little!
    The uncaring attitude towards the environment of our current environment minister is mystifying.

  7. rosie dorey

    Jill…. Couldn’t agree with you more. I find it so depressing when I hear people say that our free parking should be kept because it is what Guernsey is known for. Really, it is something that we should be embarrassed about since it has provided such encouragement for using the car to the extent that they are now really impacting on the quality of the island environment which we should have been charged with protecting. Couldn’t that have been foreseen?

    It would be much nicer to be known for an exemplary bus service…… very frequent, reliable, and dirt cheap to travel on. That would demonstrate that we give the preservation of our islands’ environment the highest priority and aspire to hand it on to the next generation in as good a state as we inherited it.

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