Bus company boss Darren Roe has come out fighting in support of low fares which he says are available on Stagecoach services across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and Bedfordshire.
Mr Roe, managing director for Stagecoach East, said: “What can you get for £2.20 these days? Half a burger? A couple of packets of crisps? Half a pint?
“Well, in the eastern region by bus, for £2.20 you and four of your friends can get to visit world-class museums, stroll through renowned gardens and parks, listen to some live music, see world-famous sites, and maybe finish the day with a picnic by the river.
“Our region is spoilt for choice when it comes to days out, and our bus service is here to bring you to all the best attractions and events.
“Our new prices have been carefully designed to encourage people to go out with their friends and family, to enjoy our great region. This is because we take our responsibility very seriously to bring communities together.
“It is important that we occasionally review our pricing, because we need to ensure that we have a sound financial footing to maintain our routes and to make the investments that we all expect, but we will always focus on our passengers and offer them outstanding value.”
He said Stagecoach East has issued a range of new prices for its services, with the aim of encouraging customers to get out to explore Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, and Peterborough.
All day for £2.67 each
In developing a range of new prices, he says, Stagecoach has increased eligibility for its small group, meaning that three adults can now travel around the region’s town zones all day for only £2.67 each.
With the large group product, five adults can travel all day for just £2.20 each.
The new eligibility rules are part of a schedule of new prices that will go live on Sunday 17 September.
For passengers who want to travel over a period of time, with greater flexibility, Flexi 5 and Flexi 10 are still available at the new prices of £4.00 and £3.50 a day.
These are bundles of 5 and 10 tickets that are valid to be used whenever wanted for up to 12 months. Meanwhile, under the new pricing structure, under-19’s and students will still get a 30% discount on youth tickets.
Stagecoach says that across its range, a large majority of the new fares – 18 out of 28 – will see a real-terms reduction compared to 2018 prices.
The company has frozen the price of its single tickets over £2.00 and the fare cap remains in place until 31 October 2023.
Stagecoach says some prices across the range will rise, but roughly 81% of passengers currently buy single tickets so the majority will see no increase and will be able to take advantage of the improved options available.
The £1 single fare between Cambridge Rail Station, the City Centre and Biomedical Campus will remain, and Cambridge Park & Ride ticket prices have been frozen, so passengers can park free for up to 18 hours at any of the five sites and hop into town on a 100% electric bus.
Up to 3 under-16’s can travel free with a £3.50 Park & Ride return ticket. Cambridge United fans can also travel between Newmarket Road Park & Ride and the Abbey Stadium for just £3 on matchdays.
Stagecoach is also promoting its MegaRider – the cheapest ticket type for daily travel – which allows unlimited travel from just £2.61 per day with the Town 28-day Megarider.
Under-19’s and students can access youth tickets – priced at 30% less than adult ticket equivalents. Annual student bus passes are also now on sale and provide unlimited travel throughout the academic year from £1.58 throughout the town zone.
ZEBRA project investment
Mr Roe said Stagecoach East has recently invested £7.2m in the ZEBRA project, in partnership with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, to enable a fleet of 30 fully electric vehicles in Cambridge.
He added: “Like any manufacturing and transport provider, it is essential that the service covers its costs in order to continue to provide sustainable services.
“We are not at all unusual in that. We also need to continue to invest in our properties and facilities to ensure they remain environmentally friendly for future generations – it is the right thing to do.
“And we need to make improvements like the 22 route and service enhancements, including additional early and late services, that we have made since January.
“Those sit alongside 34 initiatives to improve reliability, overcome delays due to congestion in Cambridge city and ensure that services keep running to our set timetables, and 5 completely new services in the 4a, F, 8a, 8X and X9.”
Mr Roe said Stagecoach “has consistently delivered some of the lowest ticket prices in the country and we are committed to continuing to keep fares as low as possible for our passengers.
“However, services like ours have been hit by very considerable price inflation and so we have no option but to slightly increase some fares, to keep our services in the East sustainable and to make essential investments in Green technology.
“Ultimately, the money from fares goes towards paying for the day-to-day running of services, as well as being re-invested into improvements for all our passengers”.
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