Stagecoach are set to back down on their decision to increase child fares by 200 per cent after a raft of angry protests.
There was a public outcry when the bus company announced they were scrapping the £1 child add-on tickets which were first introduced seven years ago, without informing or consulting with councillors or passengers.
Instead Stagecoach announced it would be bringing in single fares or £3 dayriders for children which equated to an increase of 200 per cent.
An adult travelling with one child for a day of travel within Exeter will now have to pay £7 – a £4 adult dayrider plus £3 child dayrider – rather than £4.90 – a £3.90 adult dayrider plus £1 child add-on.
Single parents and families with tight budgets say they are no longer able to travel by bus, are becoming socially isolated, or are finding it cheaper to take the car or train than the bus.
Councillor John Hart said that while the County Council can press Stagecoach consider its position, it would have to be in the context of a commercial decision as they are a commercial operator.
But he added: “The cabinet do recognise the commercial pressures Stagecoach are under, but we are concerned about the change in provision and we will work to achieve the best outcome. It does seem that the pressure on them has created some success and hopefully we will find that out tomorrow.”
More than 1,800 had signed a petition against the change in fares, and at a recent council meeting, Robert Williams, Commercial Director of Stagecoach and Bob Dennison, managing director of Stagecoach South West, had told angry councillors that they would look again at the price changes.
Stagecoach have been contacted for further comment in relation to the meeting scheduled for Thursday.