For Richer For Poorer!
Thursday, 27 October 2022
For Better For Worse ...
fbb's nostalgic look at some of Sheffield Transport's heavily annotated fare tabler from 1963 wasn't just an exercise in happy nostalgia for the good old days. It does beg the question, "is the 2022 fares structure the right way forward?"
Whilst very few bus companies publish fare tables, it does appear that the trend has been to ramp up single-journey fares - possibly to get the best payback for OAP 'free' travel - and give some ludicrously cheap travel on "season tickets".
In 1963 the vast bast majority of Sheffield passengers paid their fare to the conductor in money. The fare was the fare and that was it! fbb had a vague memory of "weekly" tickets aimed at "workpeople" but sales were low. If fbb's brain cells remember correctly, you bought a card ticket which was punched day by day with a simple circular punch fixed to the ticket machine shoulder strap.
The announcement of fares changes (an equally sanitised alternative to "revised") from Southern Vectis illustrates the point well.
The cost of running our bus services has significantly increased. This has meant we have had to review the cost of our fares, and have reluctantly increased some ticket prices. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We have kept any prices rises to an absolute minimum.
The language is entirely predictable, so much so that it is hardly worth writing. What is wrong with "Our fares will increase from Monday 31st October?" Honesty is surely the best policy; no one is conned by the platitudinous babble.
Would any person intent on "selling" ever write anything different?
We have gleefully increased some ticket prices. This is an off-hand decision in the hope you won't notice. We have ensured that the increases are as big as we can get away with!
But then the complexity is revealed.
Our single adult fares will increase by approximately 10p, 20p or 30p. Child singles will increase to short hop £1.50, medium hop £2.10, long hop £2.70 and period passes and multi-trip bundles will also have increases.
But we aren't telling you what the actual fares are! And can you really believe "approximately" - or is it a management-speak obfuscation because some fared will increase more than others?
The good news is our £10 adult day rover will remain unchanged.
As some stage in the recent past there has been a change in the pricing of a day rover. It used to be valid on everything including the open top "Breezer" routes but now...a bit extra to be frozen on the top deck - somewhat academic at the moment because the OT routes cease for the winter.
You get 7 days' travel for less than the price of three!
Blog readers will not be surprised to read this about "The Key", the most expensive way of buying the Freedom ticket
... is no longer being developed or supported and of late we have sadly experienced some technical issues causing inconvenience to some of our customers. Therefore, we are phasing out this method of buying bus tickets over the coming months. By the beginning of summer 2023 it will be discontinued. This will be a gradual process. Initially we will stop selling ticket types with very low sales. Some ticket types that are withdrawn are available on our app.
The multi-bundles at 5, 15 and 30 days travel within a year are, obviously, more expensive than a Freedom ticket (per day used). Why?
One slightly unusual feature of the Island's "ordinary" fares is that they are always valid for through journeys e.g. Alum Bay ...
Back in the days of fbb's not too distant past it used to be singles and 1, 7 and 28 day rovers. The longer rovers were at a discount, but nowhere as big a reduction per day as today's Freedom tickets.
What would happen, fbb muses, to the company's bottom line if all the above were swept away allowing individual fares to be reduced and returning to the long-gone simple pattern of Rovers ...
With reduced single fares, more people might actually use the bus!
Hmm, not a good idea - all those extra passengers to spoil the company's efficiency!
I stops when I'm requested
Although it spoils the ride
So I can shout "Get out of it!
"We're full right up inside."
I don't ask much for wages
I only want fair shares
So cut down all the stages
And stick up all the fares.
If tickets cost ten pound apiece
Why should you make a fuss?
It's worth it just to ride inside
That thirty-foot-long by nine-foot-wide
Inside that monarch of the road
Observer of the highway code
That big six-wheeler, bright-green-painted,
Southern Vectis, diesel-engined,
Ninety-seven horsepower omnibus!
More blogging tomorrow : Friday 28th Oct