Have been chasing up First Bus about whether they'd be prepared to run a reduced fare pilot on a key route - e.g. the A420 Showcase Bus Route - to see whether it increases passengers numbers and encourages more people to use the bus. They say they're keen in principle, but need to look at finances - a 20% cut in the fare would require a 25% increase in passenger numbers to arrive at the same cash value. I don't think a 20% cut would be enough of an incentive; we'd been campaigning for a flat rate fare of £1 between St George and the city centre, and it's £2.30 at the moment. Cutting it to £1.84 wouldn't be enough to persuade people to take the bus instead of driving.
First Bus also defend recent fare rises, saying that from December 2005 to August 2007 (not sure why they chose this period - need to check that out) their fares rose by an average of 14%, whereas the consumer price index for transport produced by the National Office for Statistics indicated cost increases of 15.7%.
Still waiting on a response from Moir Lockhead, the Chief Exec of First, on the fare price issue - asking why, if fares had to be increased because of oil price rises, they don't get reduced when oil prices drop significantly.