Tomorrow, 21 September, the fares on the 722 bus service in Ludlow will be hiked upwards by up to 25%. This sudden price leap astounds and angers me.
Have fuel costs gone up by 25% in the last year? The cost of fuel is down. On 31 March 2014, diesel was 136p a litre. A year later it was 119p. Currently it is lower.
Are drivers’ wages being raised? No, they are being cut by the operator.
Have passengers fallen? Not that I can see and I use the 722 most days.
Has the Shropshire Council subsidy been cut? The projected costs of subsidising the service this financial year is £85,175 against £91,271 last year.
A 7% reduction in subsidy along with falling wage and fuel costs doesn’t seem to add up to a hike in fares that the huge fare hikes we are facing.
This price rise was negotiated in secret without any reference to the town council, the In and Out of Ludlow forum or unitary councillors. It’s a back door deal done by Shropshire Council. This is typical of the completely secretive way Shropshire Council has dealt with Ludlow buses for years.
Times are tough. Public funding of public transport is reducing rapidly. The best way we can handle this is by working together, with good communication and trying to find common ground. That’s why Tracey Huffer, Vivienne Parry and myself have called for an urgent meeting with Simon Jones, the Shropshire Council portfolio holder for transport.