Fares to go up on West Midlands buses

Bus fares in the West Midlands look set to rise again in January after the region’s biggest operator was hit with a £5 million cut in funding.

Chief – Peter Coates
Chief – Peter Coates

But National Express West Midlands is drawing up plans for its own “smartcard” that could offer discounts for casual users.

Managing director Peter Coates told the Express & Star that fares were under review but said the company had not “jerked up” prices following a £5m cut in its operating grant in April – the equivalent of a 10p a litre increase in its fuel costs.

And despite the cost pressures the company has recruited hundreds of new drivers. A single fare costs £1.90 and went up by 10p last January. Travelcards and passes bought in advance offer discounts.

Mr Coates said a smartcard, similar to one being developed by Transport authority Centro, could allow users to take advantage of bigger discounts by pre-paying.

The bus services operator grant was cut by 20 per cent in April.

Mr Coates said: “We behaved in a responsible way. In other parts of the country some operators jerked the fares up but we did not. We’re reviewing fares but we will keep any increase to a minimum.

“Our fuel costs are going steadily up and up. It’s the second biggest part of our budget after pay.”

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Comments for: "Fares to go up on West Midlands buses"


my fuel costs are going up steadily, but its still cheaper to drive to town pay to park then drive home than it is to pay the outrageous bus charges ,and as far as four people traveling a taxi is cheaper, so please please tell me how you justify your prices?


Has anyone also noticed that the 'Short-hop' fare has vanished??????


The short-hop fare (is/was) very poor value. Just as quick to walk 1, 2 or 3 stops than pay £1.70. If it really has disappeared, and it is reintroduced, then it should be a much smaller fraction of the normal fare (around half, I'd say).

As for bus passes, unless you want to save some real cash, you have to sign-up for a regular direct debit (DD) payment. OK if you never go away on holiday, but a waste of money if you go away for the best part of a month. You have to write to the bus company to cancel the DD for a month, and sign-up again when you are back from your holiday. After all, why give the bus company £40, £50, or more, when you are not using the service for almost a month?

Finally, using the bus company's website can be a nightmare. It's badly designed and does not work properly.

Overall? Big failings that need to be addressed.

mr ex busman

maybe it was made close to a max fare as people were abusing it? the amount of people who used to pay for a short hop then stay on for the whole journey was rediculous


well if you knew it was happening you should have turfed them off if not then radio forward


Typical national express west midlands,like a lot of companies these days blame everything on someone/thing else,don't they know there a recession on and people just have not got the money to spend,Its about time they taught the bus drivers a few manners.At this rate to go shopping in wolverhampton or anywhere else it will be cheaper to get there by taxi instead of the bus!


that is just typical of west midlands travel to increase thier fares u wouldnt mind paying it if they kept the buses clean tiday and smell free and jason has a point about bus drvers and thier manners cause if the bus driver dont feel like stoppin he wont theres a lot of people that will not use buses any more as it will cost them a fortune

gary turley

a total disgrace. i wil not pay anymore. its, cheaper to walk and carry my shopping bags.


How about charging for prams/pushchairs - they take up several seats and only pay for ONE !!!



mr ex busman

ask any bus driver- they say bring back step entrance. more seats, less standing,


What a pathetic comment obviously comes from someone with no children!!! It is hard enough getting around with small children as it is without narrow minded people making comments like that!!!


That is a bit nasty isn't it. I take it you don't have a pushchair or never have.

There are designated spaces for pushchairs and the only seats they would take up are 2! Would you say the same to wheelchair users who use the same bay as a pushchair?? Would you say to charge dogs who come on the buses too as they get on for free?


Rather than put your prices up why don't you reduce the wage of a bus driver. Fair enough they drive long hours but there attitudes stink. The £8 plus they get and they can't even smile, turn up on time, and some drive like maniacs not giving old people chance to sit down before they drive off! Not all drivers of course. I think you need to take careful consideration over the plans. I used to catch buses every day. Now I walk because its a rip off!

mr ex busman

In reply to your comment, the wages a bus driver gets isn't really enough for the responsibility they have. Think about how your goods get to the shops etc - lorry drivers are on much more! just think how much cheaper things would be if they had theirs dropped! Id challenge anyone who comments on here to take their test, and actually do the job. It has and does send people up the wall.

Bus drivers are not all bad, i'm a friendly person who will help as much as i can. However there will always be some that stink, as in any job. Maybe they are having a bad day? As for time keeping, my pet hate is people who stand at a stop, or flag the bus down, smoke their fag, then mess around looking for passes etc. If bus users were ready for action, it wouldn't half speed things up. Timings are very tight on most routes. that aint the drivers fault.

As for the fares going up, insurance and fuel are the main causes here not wages. Especially as we are now in the claim culture. As for cleanliness of buses, yes I agree, but maybe if the element of society who treat the things like a trash can, and destroy them, the companies may actually get standards up.

A good example - last october, before i left, i was allocated a brand new vehicle onto a wolverhampton estate that normally gets older vehicles. The main amount of people were gobsmacked, and impressed, However 2 young men got on, with their partners, and within seconds i could smell a fag on the go, then when i got to the terminus, there was the empty drinks cans they smuggled on.


well it dont help when you have to keep paying the great green tax con


Thank god for the bus company in Wolverhampton that do £2 returns! ok theres only 2 buses doing the 32/33 route in Wolverhampton, but id rather wait the extra 5/10 mins and save myself £1.90


Most people who are out of a job and don't drive need to use buses to get to job interviews but how can they use buses when the prices keep going up and up. £1.70 to go five stops may aswell walk it. I think.its well stupid keep putting the prices up and then use the excuse .. I.e petrol prices etc..!!!


If the fares are going up again don't you think it's about time you started cleaning the buses, they are filthy even early mornings.


will it mean the buses will be on time. no thay will NOT.


The fares going up again. What a rip off. I use the Underhill to Wolverhampton route. £2.00 return on Travel Express, ok they might be old buses but they get you from A to B. forget Travel West Midlands.


hope the bus drivers will be bit .better ,their attitude stinks particuly walsall bus drivers , why not charge prams and buggies they take up more space

the phantom of the oprea

if moms and dads are taking kids out by bus and the bus is packed, chidlren should sit on there parents laps

antony j

i remember when a bus ride cost sixpence.


Worth having a look at the profit made by its parent company in the first haldf of 2012, which were still £82m. The issue is that bus passengers are used to subsidise its rail franchise business and it has little or nothing to do with grants, which to be honest as a private company they shouldn't be receiving.

Wolves Bus Driver

yet again we are the last to know.........I like how they blame everybody but themselves for the rise in fares when it is pure greed on their part.

I know the prices are extortionate and I don't blame you for complaining because I certainly wouldn't want to pay those prices in fact I get and employees pass and I still prefer to use my car.

I wish I could be on time more but as they make it sooooooooo difficult to keep to schedule half the time im pulling my hair out and they wont change the timetables to give us more time to get the the destinations on time safely and the safest option would be to put another bus on the route but that costs money so we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

And speaking from my personal attitude towards my job I do like to have a little natter with the public and have a joke and I assume im one of the few that do.

christine coles

i have read all the comments on the fare increase in the midlands with great interest i live in cornwall where a sigle fare into our nearest town as just gone up to £ 3.20 or a return at £5.00 the distance from where i live to town is just like going from brownhills to walsall so before you moan to much just rememeber there a people worst off then you


A rise in bus fares, no surprise there!!!!!!! i agree with all of you, its a disgrace, why should we pay more to use the buses when they cant arrive on time, they r dirty, they smell, and most of the drivers look like they dont want to work or dont know good customer service.

A few weeks ago, me and a friend got on the bus to go to wolverhampton, there was an accident in bilston and we got diverted, the bus driver didnt know which way to go and he got off the bus to use his phone, in the end me and a couple of other passengers told him which way to go, the driver never thanked us, which i found disgusting.

Some of the buses look like they havent been cleaned in a long time and you cant even look out the window because they are full of dirt.

Some buses miss out their time slots and you have to stand about waiting.


I agree with all of the comments on here. Bus travel costs are already dear when people are trying to save money. And as for the new travel plans from later this month who thought those up because I for one have not been asked for my opinion like they say. Renumbering buses and changing routes all at the same time it's going to be a disaster.

bus driver

coming from the horses mouth u sit there get spat at moaned at for being late witch is not our fault as for the buses being dirty take ur rubbish with u instead of leaving it. I always give my passengers a smile. And just get abuse given bk to me and even attack just for being a driver. We are not taxis so dont be surprised we dont stop were u want to


Are we sure the fares need to go up next year, looking at this logically we pay £1.90 for a full fare, our kids pay 95p for a full fare, how many of us REALISTICALLY have £1.90 or 95p in change? we already chuck £2 in or £1 for kids so haven't u already had next years rise this year. And if national express west midlands do put their prices up and no other bus company do, then the £4 N-BUS day saver ticket cannot go up, so we will find more people using arriva, diamond, midland etc whose gonna lose out? not arriva, diamond etc.


A return there and back again used to be £2.50

You now have to get a daysaver for £3.80

What is the rate of increase for a return journey e.g. work and back in Wolverhampton?

Have you noticed how many people walk to work now.

Will there be cheaper concessions for people travelling before 7.30? Nah just more pressure on low wage earners.

Nice one National Exc(pr)ess


I think the bus drivers do a superb job and to think the kind of scum the deal with everyday they deserve to be on gd money and I know one thing national express and struggling to get drivers so soon there gonna be buses standing with out drivers then wats the public gonna do and for the oap pesioners they should stop passes make um pay


Why does it cost £1.00 for a single 'short hop' in Birmingham (on routes within the middle ring road) yet it costs £1.90 to get from Netherton to Dudley, Cradley Heath to Merry Hill and similar length journeys in the Wolverhampton/Walsall Area?

The bus uses the same amount of fuel (probably more due to the traffic in Birmingham City Centre) so would should people living outside of this area have to pay more for travelling the amount of miles on a bus!

When I've passed my driving test that'll be the end of buses for me. I'd rather drive my relatives to the likes of Bilston and Walsall on a Saturday and pay for parking then get the poor excuse of a bus service National Express provide.

chris hall

Mary - Start charging for pushchairs and you may as well charge for wheelchairs - they take up several seats and only pay for ONE!!!

Everyone else, you need to realize how good you have it compared to others. Before I moved up here, a day ticket down south would cost me £6.80 - I dread to look up what it is now. Since moving to the area I've considered our tickets, if not cheap, then severely reasonable, and the drivers incredibly friendly compared to elsewhere.

Prices will go up, but nowhere near the level of rail fares, and at least the company is, if not honest, then transparent.

NXWM may seem like the devil, but there are bigger devils out there who deserve our wrath.


BSD. Stop blaming the drivers, stop blaming high prices, just stop and think:-) if you do not like public transport then do not use it. Use your car, your bike, walk or run for short local trips. Just stop blaming others! Wake up and learn the facts, most if not all public services are run for a profit. Hahahaha. Laughs the company dancing to the bank. To date I avoid using bus services in wton as they do not provide the standard of public services I expect. So I keep my money for taxi or car journeys. Hahahaha I. Laugh to and from work.


cut costs by getting rid of all the so called inspectors standing about in the station. bring back the clocking in machines along the route keep check on the time table


im glad i walk bus fares are redicules i mean come on its a bus the goes 5 stops or so not a coach bump up prices on the coach or if busses are costing that much to run get a better bus


Prices going up again? for goodness sake! And Mary pardon? start charging for pushchairs? Those pushchairs have a baby in there like mine who cant sit on seats! i agree if the kids are aged 4 and stil in prams tell them to get out but what about babys? yes the pram may take up a few seats but so do the wheelchair users, i aint saw u comment towards thoose thou eh? and when i have my pram on the bus half the time i have to fold it up anyway, and remember ur not paying per seat, half the time the buses are that packed we have to stand, your paying for your journey!


I've seen the some of the people that use buses and they should be charged more. Most of them litter and vandalise the buses and look a general mess. As for the person who says lower the bus drivers wages, they're only in a pittance to deal with the abuse they get from passengers. No wonder they look miserable and don't want to stop. Get a better quality if passenger and you'll get a better quality service.


I just remembered. Once I found out that De Courcey in Coventry were cheaper and quicker to get from Coventry Railway station to University Hospital at Walsgrave than West Midlands travel. I stopped using the national express mob!

Andy C

It's a good thing the Green Bus company are running on the 558 route. I feel happier to pay £1.90 return to a driver who doesn't look scruffy and actually speaks English, travelling on a bus that turns up on time. I'd hate to have to pay 10p more than that just to go one way on the West Midlands bus that's dirty, has a rude driver who thinks he's Michael Schumacher and has people drinking and smoking on it. Stay off the West Midlands buses and don't buy their passes, they'll get the message.


Poorer services, higher fares, typical of a Birmingham City Centre organisation; Like CENTRO, I ask regularly the following questions to National Express (WM) , in regards to how many company cars do they run and how often their senior/mid ranking executives/managers and spin doctors use the cattle-truck buses, that we are expected to use and pay through the nose for? Not too keen on answering that one; (btw , I believe they have 2000+ cars locally for non-operational staff)


What a sad reflection on society that the commentators above can barely put together a credible argument as to why bus fares should not rise.

I use buses everyday;

Bad driving - rarely

Dirty Buses - rarely

Miserable drivers - occasionally

Smelly passengers - everyday

Rude passengers - everyday

Traffic jams which make the buses late - everyday

Passengers dropping rubbish - everyday

Passengers who should never have had children - everyday

Passengers who would rather have the names of their children tattooed on their necks than pay the correct bus fare - everyday

In my experience it the thick, stupid illiterate public who spoil public transport and is the reason many 'normal people do not use it'


I live in North Wales and my cheapest fare is £2.50 for a distance of 1.5 miles. Now i would rather pay £1.90 anyday. You live in an area where you have multiple bus operators so why not use them?, i know i lived in Walsall all my life until 8 years ago and we dont have the luxury of other operators we are stuck with Arriva.


Just some perspective on price rises - I live in the South East and I pay £4,488 a year (after tax) for a season ticket to get to work and back every day. Your 10p per journey rise doesn't seem so bad now, does it!

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