Exeter Labour Party are calling on Stagecoach to reverse their plans to drop the £1 child ‘add on’ bus fare.
Stagecoach have announced that they are replacing the £1 child ‘add on’ with a £3 Child Dayrider, as well as increasing the Adult Dayrider from £3.90 to £4.
This change will hit single parents and others who travel on their own with children the hardest. Currently, an adult travelling with one child would pay £4.90 for a day of travel within Exeter*, but from 29th April this will increase to £7**. This is an increase of £2.10 per day of travel.
Costs will also increase for an adult travelling with two or three children. At £8, the Group Dayrider will only represent a saving when an adult travels with four or more children, or is accompanied by another adult.
Labour has launched a petition against the changes.
County Councillor Emma Brennan said, “As someone who often travels by bus with my children, I know exactly how costly this change will be for so many families. Stagecoach haven’t consulted with bus users or offered an explanation for this decision, which will have a serious impact on single parents and the least well-off families. It completely contradicts Stagecoach’s claim that they want to help reduce congestion and improve air quality in Exeter.”
Councillor Rob Hannaford, leader of Devon Labour Group, also called for an urgent rethink adding, “this change is completely unacceptable and contrary to everything we are trying to achieve in the city.”
Exeter City Labour Group spokesperson Councillor Rosie Denham said, “After the response to the most recent bus changes, it is shocking that Stagecoach would make this decision without any consultation or concern for the impact on Exeter’s families. Councils desperately need the powers to regulate local bus services, which is why we will be lobbying Devon County Council to request the franchising powers allowed under the Bus Services Act 2017.”
“To prove that there is a real alternative to the status quo, we will also invite residents, local bus companies and other interested groups to work with us to design the best possible commercially viable network of bus routes that also meets the needs of Exeter’s residents and commuters, using all available travel data.”
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* Now: £3.90 Adult Dayrider plus £1 Child ‘Add-On’