Recent research revealed that Londoners pay £1.50 for one ticket but a five-mile journey in Hampshire costs £5.65. The research has found out that bus passengers across England are paying “massively unfair” fares of up to £6 for a single journey, and it is four times the amount Londoners are charged to traverse the capital.
Analysis of a snapshot of five-mile bus trips in local authorities across England reveal that while a single bus ticket in London costs £1.50, passengers elsewhere pay far more despite experiencing worse services. The most expensive fare for a five-mile journey was in Hampshire, where one ticket from Winchester The Broadway to Matterley Farm, Tichborne, costs £5.65, the research showed. In Hampshire, there are 33 competing bus service providers. In Greater Manchester, there are 47, including school operators and cross-boundary operators. None of the providers coordinate with each other and they charge exorbitantly.
In many areas return fares no longer exist, and thus it forces passengers to buy a day pass. Sometimes there aren’t even single fares. The fragmented system was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, when the Conservative government deregulated the bus industry across Britain, except in London. With the decline in passengers, local authorities had to intrude. In the year 2017-18, central and local government support paid out £2.18bn in subsidies to private bus companies in England, of which £1bn or 46% were for concessionary travel. Just eight English local authorities retained municipal bus services after deregulation. In the rest of England, five big bus operators have cornered an estimated 70% of the market.