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Why are fares treated as state secrets

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miami

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The mother-in-law wants to travel on the bus in Yorkshire. A simple 20 minute journey.

The timetable is easy enough to find online, but should you want to know how much this ticket would cost you get sent to http://www.travelsouthyorkshire.com/ticketfinder.aspx. This site has 105 applicable tickets, from £0 to £1050.50.

Is it any wonder that bus usage is going down - even with 20% of bus users travelling for free, and 50% in London where it's a nice simple £1.50.

Is there an assumption in the bus world that people will either be travelling on season tickets or free old-people tickets, thus don't need to know about the fare?

How hard is it to provide bus fares in addition to timetable data?
 
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Zoidberg

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There does seem to be a desire to not make fares information readily available online.

The I've been unable to find any information about fares for local services in my Arriva Bus area on its website.
 

Deerfold

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The mother-in-law wants to travel on the bus in Yorkshire. A simple 20 minute journey.

The timetable is easy enough to find online, but should you want to know how much this ticket would cost you get sent to http://www.travelsouthyorkshire.com/ticketfinder.aspx. This site has 105 applicable tickets, from £0 to £1050.50.

Is it any wonder that bus usage is going down - even with 20% of bus users travelling for free, and 50% in London where it's a nice simple £1.50.

Is there an assumption in the bus world that people will either be travelling on season tickets or free old-people tickets, thus don't need to know about the fare?

How hard is it to provide bus fares in addition to timetable data?

It seems to be - and there's been a few threads here on this matter.

I don't even know how much my fare into town is at the moment as I've got a season ticket and the fares went up on Sunday. I asked on twitter and was told they'd go up by "up to 20p" on a return and that more information would be forthcoming. 2 days after the change and it's still not available except from the driver.

They did at least used to provide the 3 "town fares" that applied within a couple of miles of Keighley but even those have now gone.

It's a shame as their fares are fairly reasonable.

The only bus company which doesn't have just the one fare that makes it easy to find out fares that I know of is trentbarton - they've a fare finder on their website - just put in your route and the stops you're going between and it tells you the single and return fare and which of their area tickets also covers the journey.
 

pjnathanail

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It seems to be - and there's been a few threads here on this matter.

I don't even know how much my fare into town is at the moment as I've got a season ticket and the fares went up on Sunday. I asked on twitter and was told they'd go up by "up to 20p" on a return and that more information would be forthcoming. 2 days after the change and it's still not available except from the driver.

They did at least used to provide the 3 "town fares" that applied within a couple of miles of Keighley but even those have now gone.

It's a shame as their fares are fairly reasonable.

The only bus company which doesn't have just the one fare that makes it easy to find out fares that I know of is trentbarton - they've a fare finder on their website - just put in your route and the stops you're going between and it tells you the single and return fare and which of their area tickets also covers the journey.

Kinchbus (another Wellglade company) provide the same system, as do Nottingham City Transport (who, whilst predominantly flat fare, have the option of a short hop on their city routes and also charge by stage on their longer distance routes). Notts and Derby don't seem to provide much information.

Centrebus make fare tables available for all their services, so technically the information is out there, but for those who aren't familiar with them they may not be overly accessible.
 

radamfi

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There are a few companies who put all fare tables online, for example Metrobus and Brighton & Hove. Since Stagecoach redesigned their website, fares can be seen there too.

I'm sure there will be an industry apologist who will come along soon and explain why keeping fares secret is a good thing.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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There are a few companies who put all fare tables online, for example Metrobus and Brighton & Hove. Since Stagecoach redesigned their website, fares can be seen there too.

I'm sure there will be an industry apologist who will come along soon and explain why keeping fares secret is a good thing.

Why you bothered....you don't pay bus fares as it would compromise your piety ;)

It is something that the industry should do. The technology is there and operators can do it (and are). It seems to be the way things are going - that said, I'd be happy to have a website that is easy to navigate full stop (Stagecoach and Arriva - looking at you)
 

radamfi

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Why you bothered....you don't pay bus fares as it would compromise your piety ;)

It is something that the industry should do. The technology is there and operators can do it (and are). It seems to be the way things are going - that said, I'd be happy to have a website that is easy to navigate full stop (Stagecoach and Arriva - looking at you)

Why are we still waiting for some (most?) operators to put fares online? What's the excuse? You can't blame funding for that, especially given that some operators already provide it and some have provided it for years.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Why are we still waiting for some (most?) operators to put fares online? What's the excuse? You can't blame funding for that, especially given that some operators already provide it and some have provided it for years.

Did I mention funding? Did I excuse operators? Did you read what I posted? No, no and erm.... As I said, operators have the technology and some are using it. Why others don't? Don't know
 

Zoidberg

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Why are we still waiting for some (most?) operators to put fares online? What's the excuse? You can't blame funding for that, especially given that some operators already provide it and some have provided it for years.

Particularly where one is encouraged to "Have the exact fare ready".

How is one supposed to know what is the " exact fare"? Regular travellers on the route will know, but ...
 

radamfi

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Did I mention funding? Did I excuse operators? Did you read what I posted? No, no and erm.... As I said, operators have the technology and some are using it. Why others don't? Don't know

You said "it is something the industry should do". But it has been technically and financially possible for as long as operators have had websites. It is not good enough to say that they "should do it" if they don't. Where's the obligation? Do they even deserve to be allowed to operate if they can't do something as basic as this?
 

TheGrandWazoo

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You said "it is something the industry should do". But it has been technically and financially possible for as long as operators have had websites. It is not good enough to say that they "should do it" if they don't. Where's the obligation? Do they even deserve to be allowed to operate if they can't do something as basic as this?

Yeah, just not civilised.

I think they should do it (I'm not in a position to legislate) but if it's mandated as with service changes, then ok.
 

Busaholic

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As all bus services outside London have to be registered with, and approved by, the Traffic Commissioners set-up, I would propose that not only timetables, but fares too, should be registered with them, and it should be a legal requirement that they are available for public inspection. Fares in London are, of course, at the one flat rate. All buses in London in the days before opo and before the flat fare HAD to carry full fare charts, and these even included garage journeys off the line of route, so Farnborough (Kent) to Clapton Garage in East London, for instance, a journey possible once a week for a short while!
 

charley_17/7

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I love how Arriva MK go to the trouble of having "Please have your correct fare/pass ready" scrolling on the destination blinds, but struggle to actually tell anyone, prior to boarding, what they actually are.
 

ChrisPJ

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It's still a legal requirement for drivers of registered services to carry a fare chart for that route, isn't it?
 

Bletchleyite

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It is something that the industry should do. The technology is there and operators can do it (and are). It seems to be the way things are going - that said, I'd be happy to have a website that is easy to navigate full stop (Stagecoach and Arriva - looking at you)

Indeed. Given that bus single and return fares are very simple - pay each time you board a vehicle based on the distance you will be remaining on it, with no complexity of permitted routes nor usually of peak/off-peak - a 12-year-old could probably code up an entirely adequate Web interface to show them.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Indeed. Given that bus single and return fares are very simple - pay each time you board a vehicle based on the distance you will be remaining on it, with no complexity of permitted routes nor usually of peak/off-peak - a 12-year-old could probably code up an entirely adequate Web interface to show them.

As I say, the technology is there and being used by a number. There's no reason why they shouldn't do so. Busaholic was basically saying what I alluded to; make it as expected as the service registration. Don't know about each driver having a faretable - that seems a bit 1960s. The rest I think is ok though.
 

Bookd

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Going back to ancient history(well,the fifties and sixties) most municipal bus operators, and some BET companies, would sell you a faretable. The nationalised BTC companies all seemed to think that they would fall under the official secrets act and they would be printed for staff use only.
I never understood why then,but this seems to be a tradition that the industry wishes to retain.
 

carlberry

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As all bus services outside London have to be registered with, and approved by, the Traffic Commissioners set-up, I would propose that not only timetables, but fares too, should be registered with them, and it should be a legal requirement that they are available for public inspection. Fares in London are, of course, at the one flat rate. All buses in London in the days before opo and before the flat fare HAD to carry full fare charts, and these even included garage journeys off the line of route, so Farnborough (Kent) to Clapton Garage in East London, for instance, a journey possible once a week for a short while!

Until the 1980s companies did have to approve fares with the traffic commissioners. It was a painful process and in the 1970s (with inflation) usually took so long that the next fare application had to go in as soon as the previous one was approved. They should be available for inspection but nowadays the only place you'd be able to inspect them is on the vehicle as most companies dont have information offices.

London may have a flat fare however it's recently decided that it wont accept the easiest ways of actually paying that fare!
 

Deerfold

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They should be available for inspection but nowadays the only place you'd be able to inspect them is on the vehicle as most companies dont have information offices.

Transdev run the information office at Keighley Bus Station but they still can't tell me single and return fares :(

London may have a flat fare however it's recently decided that it wont accept the easiest ways of actually paying that fare!

There's an easier way than touching your card to a pad or showing a card to the driver?
 

Mugby

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I love how Arriva MK go to the trouble of having "Please have your correct fare/pass ready" scrolling on the destination blinds, but struggle to actually tell anyone, prior to boarding, what they actually are.

I used to use Arriva in Derby to travel between the bus station and the railway station. In the past couple of years, they have become so ridiculously expensive for such a short journey (half a mile) I wouldn't even consider using them now, I'd rather walk.

Perhaps that's why they don't want anyone to know how much they charge!
 

Mojo

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First in Bristol provide fares on their App on the Timetable screen, but only between major timing points (which are further apart than the fare stages). They do say however on the main website that there are only 4 prices; £1 for 3 stops, £1.50 for up to 3 Miles, £2.50 for 3-6 Miles and £3.50 for more than 6 Miles.
 

miami

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National Express West Midlands has full faretables for its services here (though in a single not-so-handy PDF document): http://nxbus.co.uk/files/NXWestMids/misc/Faretables2016forweb.pdf
You also have to beware the multiple service numbers and the odd decision to prefix Wolverhampton / Walsall services with an N and a W respectively - but they're there somewhere and not a total secret!

Ironically it seems that aside from very short distances it's a set fare, £2.30 for a journey of 2 miles or 20.

If bus drivers have to carry fare charts, those charts will exist as electronic documents somewhere, and there's no legitimate reason not to have them online.

Are bus companies subject to FOI requests?
 

Tetchytyke

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Bus companies are not public bodies, so no.

Traveline North East had fares for a while when you did a journey search. The fares were never updated, and so the function was removed. If that doesn't sum up the attitudes in the industry nothing will.

It's strange as day and weekly ticket prices are shown on the bus in five-foot letters.
 

PeterC

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Locally Carousel have fare tables online for every route that I checked as well as zonal passes except for route 1 which used to be the only one that did have a full fare table published.
 
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Busaholic

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Until the 1980s companies did have to approve fares with the traffic commissioners. It was a painful process and in the 1970s (with inflation) usually took so long that the next fare application had to go in as soon as the previous one was approved. They should be available for inspection but nowadays the only place you'd be able to inspect them is on the vehicle as most companies dont have information offices.

London may have a flat fare however it's recently decided that it wont accept the easiest ways of actually paying that fare!

I'm not proposing that the TCs have to approve the fares though, just that they are registered with them: I would suggest a 4-week period between registration and implementation, except in exceptional circumstances (outbreak of war might count!) Any bus company that was trying to change fares on an almost daily basis, though, might expect the relevant TC to start taking an interest in their operations on a more general level, though.

Re your last sentence - if you're suggesting that was a retrograde step, then I'm in agreement!
 
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exile

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One of the cases where trains are still ahead of buses for usability. The other is "real time" - still very patchy availability, which leads to the situation of waiting in the rain at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere being not quite sure if a bus is going to appear late, or not at all.
 
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