Fairer fares for Saltford residents announced! - Saltford Parish Council

Since 2019 Saltford Parish Council has urged First Bus West of England to review the price of bus fares paid by Saltford residents. It has also raised this matter repeatedly with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

Saltford Parish Council is delighted that from this Sunday (25th September) residents will pay considerably less to travel by bus into Bath and Bristol than currently, and that the price paid will reflect distance travelled rather than purely being ‘zonal’.

Saltford is in the ‘West of England’ fare zone, between the Bristol Zone and the Bath Zone, despite its proximity to both cities. This means residents currently pay the considerably higher ‘West of England Zone’ prices to reach either city, which is the same price as those travelling the full length from Bath to Bristol and vice versa. The current ‘West of England Zone’ fare structure also means residents pay the same price for travelling a short distance in the zone as they would if they travelled much further. Saltford Parish Council has consistently raised that this pricing structure as unfair for residents and a disincentive for residents to use buses.

In July 2022, Saltford PC again urged Doug Claringbold, Managing Director of First Bus West of England, to include Saltford in the Bath and/or Bristol fare zones or to determine an alternative solution which appropriately reflects the distances travelled into each city, in line with First Bus’s own stated principles around cost and distance. For more information about SPC’s requests and the reasons behind them please see our March 2022 news article ‘Unfair Fares – SPC raises concerns with First Bus’ as sent to First Bus and WECA, (the article also includes SPC’s meeting with Jacob Rees-Mogg MP to ask for his support) and our July 2022 news article ‘Fare Fairs for Saltford – SPC acts following First Bus response’.

Though Saltford is still in the ‘West of England’ fare zone, Saltford Parish Council is pleased that First Bus’s new fare structure includes ticket prices being based on distances travelled within the West of England zone rather than a one-price-fits-all approach.

From Sunday 25 September, Saltford residents will pay the new ticket prices for West of England Zone based on distance. There are three ticket prices for distances travelled if in the West of England Zone:

  • Under 3 miles
  • 3 to 6 miles
  • Over 6 miles

Based on the information available from First Bus, Saltford Parish Council assumes that residents travelling to central Bath on an adult ticket will pay £3.30 single / £4.00 return, whilst central Bristol will be £3.70 single / £5.00 return. Shorter journeys under 3 miles will cost less than this. By comparison, current fares for any First Bus service from Saltford for adults is £3.70 single / £6.50 return, regardless of distance travelled. Children (5-15yrs) travelling any distance in the West of England Zone will be £1 one way or £1.80 return, compared to £1.85 and £3.25 currently. These changes to the fares makes a considerable difference, particularly for families and young people wishing to travel to and from our nearest cities by bus.

Saltford Parish Council assumes the above is correct but awaits the new fare structure to see how it works in practice. First Bus have stated that fares are dependent on section boundaries, and that some journeys may cost more than the base rate. Single fares in the West of England Zone are based on the distance travelled, with distances are calculated by First Bus using ‘fare stage’ sections rather than individual bus stops, with each section being approximately one mile long.

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) recently announced that passengers will benefit from new cheaper single and return fares across West of England buses following support from the Government’s £105m Bus Service Improvement Plan funding, which was secured by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and North Somerset Council earlier this year. The scheme is a joint initiative from the West of England Combined Authority, North Somerset Council and the bus operators, including First Bus, Stagecoach West and others. Please find a copy of their article dated 21 September ‘Metro Mayor urges passengers to ‘Get on Board’ as bus fares go down’ for more information.

Saltford Parish Council is delighted that the fairer and more transparent fare structure, and the overall reduction in the cost of bus travel, will support residents utilising buses as a regular, cost-effective and more environmentally friendly means of transport from Saltford. More information about the new fares can be found in the First Bus ‘A simple guide for your tickets’ booklet.

West of England Zone tickets & fares, p.22 & 23 in the First Bus ‘A simple guide for your tickets
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