Text Only Version Last Update: Press Releases (22 May 2006)
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Buses fares hike shocks passengers
Bury Free Press, 15 February 2005
Buses in Bury St Edmunds are worse than ever and costing more, say passengers just a week after bus chiefs said services would improve.
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This week, bus users were told some ticket prices had gone up by nearly 25 per cent and, according to one count by a town councillor, at least 130 buses had been late since last October.
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First Eastern Counties said it had reduced the daily ticket price but politicians working to improve the buses said it was 'giving with one hand and taking with the other'.
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Lorna Allen, who catches the 81 bus to work in Bury, said: "The bus didn't turn up and people had to wait 30 minutes in the cold to catch the next service.
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"What is really annoying is this keeps happening and you never know when the next bus will come along or why your bus is late."
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Another passenger, Sharon Bradley, said she had been shocked to find fares had gone up.
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"We got on the bus and were told the 10-journey fare had gone from 6 to 7.50.
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"Many people didn't have enough money so had to buy a day ticket there was no advertising on the buses or the bus stop to warn us of the rise."
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Bury town councillor Alan Turner, who has fought hard to improve bus services around the town's estates, said: "In a way, I am not surprised.
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"The bus company has said they will improve things but I think I will believe it when I see it."
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He added he kept detailed information on which buses were late or had not turned up at all.
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"The numbers are really amazing it's ridiculous really and things need to improve."
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He says more than 130 buses have been late since October last year and several buses have not turned up at all excuses given to Mr Turner range from broken down buses to driver illness.
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The news comes one week after a meeting between Cllr Turner, MP David Ruffley and First bosses ended with a four-year agreement being signed to improve services.
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Mr Ruffley said: "I am shocked to here some fares have gone up. The company said they would reduce the daily fare to attract more users.
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"However, if they have raised other prices and are effectively giving with one hand and taking away with another, that is not acceptable."
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Labour's Dave Monaghan held talks about Bury's problems with Transport Secretary Alastair Darling on Wednesday.
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Mr Monaghan said: "I'm glad the Transport Secretary took the time to hear the plight of Bury bus passengers and agreed enough was enough."
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Tom Oxley, spokesperson for First, confirmed some prices had gone up but added a day ticket in Bury has gone down from 2.60 to 2.
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He added flyers telling people of the rise had been distributed and the rises were due to increasing international oil prices.
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Cliff Hussey, operations manager for First, said: "We have been keeping a close eye on reliability at Bury St Edmunds. With regards to services most recently, there have not been major problems but there have been some we know this impacts on passengers and we apologise for that."
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