A revised maximum fare scale for local bus services operated on the council’s behalf has been agreed. It is discretionary and sets an upper limit leaving operators free to charge any fare they choose up to the maximum.
The maximum fare scale was last revised in July 2010 and has been looked at again to keep pace with inflation and to allow the council’s contractors to maximise their income in the hope of avoiding large cost increases or reduced services in future tender rounds.
Lead Councillor for infrastructure, John Semple said, “The fare scale does not necessarily mean that local bus service operators must charge the maximum. It is very much a discretionary scale which sets an upper limit leaving operators to decide what to charge up to the maximum.
“This first increase in two years in the maximum fare will allow some flexibility for operators to off-set some of the savings taken by government through grants and concessionary fares. We are mindful that public transport often operates by balancing cost effective routes with others which are less cost effective. The effect on the fare paying public is minimal and certainly below the cost increases for many other forms of transport”
In April 2010 the Scottish Government reduced the level of compensation paid to operators under the national concessionary travel scheme from 73.6% to 67%. This had some impact on routes with a high proportion of concessionary card holders. A further reduction is being proposed by the Scottish Government.
A 20 % reduction in the bus service operator’s grant came into effect in April 2012 and operating costs rose by 7.8% during 2011. Fares on most commercial services increased from that date. However if operators of the council supported tendered services cannot recover some of these cost through increased fares then one of the options they can take is to do so through increased tender prices for schools and local services.