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Council and First must work together to secure lower bus fares

Bus fares cut offer 'missed opportunity'

Labour representatives have had it confirmed that the City Council turned down an experiment from First Group to cut bus fares in the city. Dawn Primarolo, MP for Bristol South, and Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, have today urged First and the City Council to meet with them to find a solution.

First have confirmed that they offered the City Council a price cut on any route in Bristol on condition that any risk or benefit accrued would be shared equally. This offer was refused, and has since been withdrawn.

Commenting on the revelations, Dawn said:

"We'll be urging First and the Council to try to find an amicable solution. Bus fares in Bristol have been far too high for far too long, and I can't help but feel that this has been a missed opportunity. That's why we're determined to get this innovative solution back on the table".

"The Government has shown its commitment to bus travel, with £42m of extra funding likely to be made available for the Greater Bristol area, along with new regulatory powers for local authorities. It's time for the City Council to stand up for residents, stop squabbling with the bus company and come to an arrangement which leads to lower fares and better services".

Kerry added:

"We understand that First made this offer some months ago, and it's a real shame to hear that it has since been withdrawn. But we're even more disappointed that the Lib Dems seemed to dismiss the suggestion out of hand, and have kept their decision from Bristol's bus users. If we are going to improve bus services, it's vital that Bristol's MPs work together with the Council and First. We are determined to get a fair deal for passengers, and will continue to push for an agreement".

[24 April 2007] 

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