Somerset vows to continue low fares

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Bus fares in Taunton will be kept low, but increase to £1.50 single, apart from on the town’s park & ride service. GEOF SHEPPARD CC BY-SA 4.0

Somerset Council has announced revised bus fares for its Taunton town zone which it says are being kept low to ensure bus use keeps growing in popularity. Since the introduction of the Government-funded £1 fare 18 months ago, the Council says there has been a nearly 30% rise in bus use in Taunton, something which it wants to keep supporting.

Following a recent review into fares and revenue, the Council said a slight increase was needed to keep services sustainable, and from 1 June the fare was increased to £1.50 for any adult single fare and 80p for a child. The fares will be reviewed again at the end of the year, and the town’s park & ride service continues to offer a £1 single fare.

Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital Councillor Richard Wilkins said: “The Council has been able to use ring-fenced funding from the Government’s Bus Service Improvement Plan grant to subsidise capped fares but this money only goes so far. However, despite growing financial demands and the need to support other bus services we are pleased to still be able to offer significantly capped fares for Taunton. The new fare is still less than half the cost of a single journey five years ago.”

The Council received nearly £13 million in funding from Government after submitting its BSIP bid in 2021. As well as capping fares, money has helped support bus services in the county, funded evening bus services, and could help fund a range of other proposals to improve reliability such as bus lanes, the Council says.