The annual rail fare revisions (read: increases) come into effect today, Tuesday 2nd January 2011, and naturally they’ve had a high profile in the national media. The Association of Train Operating Companies claims the average fare rise will be 5.9%, which tallies with the 5.26% rise to my own monthly County Card (was £95, now £100). It could have been worse, as the proposed RPI+3 rise (aka 8%) was scaled back to RPI+1 in a recent government U-turn, but this is small comfort when wages are failing to keep pace. There are similar fare rises on other modes too.
Over on the trams, TfGM has introduced a similar RPI+1 (6%) rise, although the MEN reports a rise of 9.37% on adult return fares to Media City, from £3.20 to £3.50. It’s not too surprising that MediaCity fares are rising so much, as historically fares on the Eccles line have been cheaper than similar fares on the other lines: indeed, a Day Saver ticket used to cost less if you bought it from an Eccles line station than any other stop on the system! Is this still the case? Not sure, as the ticket section on the Metrolink website will only show you the fares from one stop to another. Seemingly no such thing as a day ticket, and no such thing as an any-tram season ticket. One good change however is the introduction of cheaper “next-stop” tickets.
Meanwhile on the buses, First Manchester have also announced fare rises coming into effect today. With Bus Service Operators Grant (aka the former rebate towards duty on fuel) being reduced by 20% from April this year, it’s unsurprising that bus operators will be looking to recoup the money through increased fares. FirstDay tickets rise 7.1% from £4.20 to £4.50, FirstWeek tickets rise 5.9% from £17 to £18, whilst monthly and annual tickets are up 5.5% to £58 and £580 respectively. A small number of single tickets have been reduced in price, as well as some child season tickets, but the £2.20 adult single fare is increased by 13.6% to £2.50! We suspect most people will buy day tickets and weekly seasons which increase by a lesser amount (whilst senior citizens travel for free) so the biggest impact will be to occasional travellers – but we fear that these kind of price increases do little to convert them into regulars.
We don’t want to single out First for special treatment, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for other fare increases from other bus operators as we approach 1st April 2012.
Despite the gloom over fares, Manchester Transport blog wishes our readers all the best for 2012!
[Image credit: “Manchester Flickr Christmas Meet 2009 – Tram Tracks” by purplemattfish on Flickr]