West Midlands bus fares to be increased

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Bus fares in the West Midlands are to rise, with the cost of a one-way bus journey to hit the £2 mark for the first time, it was announced today.

A 10p rise will come into effect on National Express West Midlands services from January 2. Daysaver and Travelcard fares are also set to go up.

The company, which runs the majority of the region's buses, blamed soaring fuel prices and other business costs for the increase.

However, it said the rise will allow it to support the introduction of "smartcards" in 2013, which will let passengers pre-pay for their travel and potentially allow it to offer savings.

Daysavers will also rise by 10p from £3.80 to £3.90 for adults and from £2.60 to £2.70 for children, and Travelcards by 50p a week from £15.

Monthly Travelcards valid across the West Midlands will go up from £54 to £55.50 or from £48 to £49.50 if bought by direct debit.

Travelcards for the Black Country will go up from £13.50 to £14 for weekly passes or from £47.50 to £49 for monthly ones or £42 to £43.50 for those bought by direct debit. All other fares will stay the same.

Peter Coates, managing director for National Express West Midlands said: "We have kept the increase to a minimum, with the average change in line with inflation. The price rise will allow us to continue our significant investment into the region's bus network and meet rising business costs such as fuel."

Wolverhampton councillor Ian Claymore hit out at the increase. He said:?"This will clobber working people who rely on the buses.

"National Express is a private company that puts its interests before the public. We should seriously consider bringing bus services back under the control of local authorities so that the interests of the fare-paying public come first."

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