First Bus Service ‘isn’t cutting it’

Community reporter Bex Inglis

First Bus has announced they’re going to hold a consultation regarding fare prices – following the online petition signed by over 2,600 people asking for prices to be lowered. And I think it’s about time.

As I’m not a bus user, I went looking at First’s website in search of fare prices. They simply state fares are based on the length of the journey, depending on route, fare stages and zone. So after some very basic market research, i.e. I asked my mates, it seems cheaper for someone to get a FirstDay at £4.

So is it worth me getting the bus? Let me work it out…

Based on my last full tank of petrol and average miles per gallon, tax and insurance, I pay 16p a mile. Mum lives 3 miles away from me by my usual route. Total return cost = 90p . So why would I get a bus when I can drive and save myself 70 per cent cost?

I could get the bus to town and not worry about parking. There are three in my family one of whom is a toddler, who’s free. It would be cheaper for us both to get a FirstDay £8 Bargain. Well, my partner’s car costs him 24p per mile. Return journey and parking in Cabot Circus for £5 is £7.25 in total. And we can all sit in comfort, and plenty of space for a buggy and shopping.

Based on this simple maths, it is not cost effective to ever get the bus. I used to get it all the time in my uni days. But that was when a FirstDay for a student was £2.50 and I had to get 4 buses.

I still hated it. No room, never on time and sometimes the bus drivers were just rude. God forbid I tried to run for a bus only to have them slam their doors and drive off. The journeys just weren’t pleasant. The buses stank, littered with rubbish, and often so jam packed I felt like a sardine. If I had to pay £3.30 now for a one way journey in those conditions, I’d rather walk.

I am lucky that I drive, but I know plenty of people whose only option is to get a bus. I would not even consider attempting to get on a Bristol bus now with a pushchair.

I did once and will never do it again. I got on the bus with my son and wedged the pushchair between me and my neighbour, and because my delightful child insisted on pressing the bell until the driver glared at me, I felt obliged to get off at the next stop. I’d bought my Dayrider. Most expensive, frustrating, one stop hop ever.

So on behalf of the Bristol population that have to get the bus, I’m glad that First will consult on their fares. Because frankly, why is Bristol paying so much for a service that just isn’t cutting it?