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First York raises bus fares for students

Image: First
Image: First

New bus timetables released by First York yesterday will mean higher fares for York students using the ’66’ service in the 2018/2019 academic year.

In an online announcement yesterday, First York stated that it would be altering its fares and timetables and encouraging students to pay for their tickets via their mobile phones for “best value fares.”

A single ticket between the University of York and the railway station will cost £2 after September 2nd. Currently, this ticket between these locations costs £1.60. A new fare, providing unlimited trips around the city on the day of purchase, will cost students £3.

Starting from the September 2nd, students can pay for the first academic term’s bus journeys at the cost of £80. A ticket to cover the whole academic year, lasting between October 8th, 2018 and June 22nd, 2019, costs £175. An annual ticket, lasting a full calendar year, costs £210. This latter cost will be £10 more expensive than the current rate.

Using the phone app ‘mTickets’, users of First Buses can pay for their bus journeys by creating an account and linking it to their credit or debit card.

Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director at First York, said:

We’re looking forward to welcoming new University of York students and will be offering a free FirstDay bus pass, so they can try before they buy. We also offer term time tickets, including the ‘All Term’ ticket, which covers all term time bus travel for just £175.

The combination of journey planning, free Wi-Fi, real-time information, contactless and mTickets, really does make the bus an increasingly attractive option for so many journey needs and if more customers converted to using mTickets or contactless, then this would have a huge impact on boarding times and would help us in the battle to speed up the bus. We look forward to welcoming new and returning students to York and hope they have a fantastic year!

James Durcan, President of the University of York Students’ Union, stated that it was “extremely disappointing that students will face an increase in bus fares.”

Having clearly conveyed to First the impact this will have on our students, University staff and the City of York and the criticism they open themselves up to, they have taken the commercial decision to raise fares.

Durcan drew attention to previous occasions where First had “listened to the concerns raised by students[.]” He encouraged students “to bulk purchase trips on the Yorkey Cards or via the mTicket App where possible as this will prove by far the cheapest way to travel.”

By moving away from purchasing tickets on board, users will significantly improve the speed and reliability of the service, a positive improvement which I’m sure all will welcome.

Over the upcoming year, I will be working closely with students to put more pressure on First to deliver a better service.

Durcan directed students to send their feedback to the bus company “so that the company is aware of the impact of these changes on its customers.”

First York won a contract with the University of York to provide bus services for its students. The contract, which saw an end to the bus services provided by rival company Transdev, will last until 2020.