Cuts risk increasing bus fares

Fares for people across the Lothian Buses network look set to increase next month following a cut to a grant paid to bus operators by the Scottish Government.

The Bus Service Operators Grant is paid to operators to allow them to keep fares down and to continue routes that don’t have a lot of passengers. However, the level of the grant is set to be cut by a fifth from April this year by the Scottish Government.

In reports last week, the Managing Director of Lothian Buses, Ian Craig, said the BSOG cut would see millions of pounds wiped from their budget.

As a result, there will be a series of changes to services and the possibility that one service will be cut.  Mr Craig has said that final decisions are being discussed regarding changes to fares and that an announcement will be made in the next few weeks.

Lothian Bus users have seen a number of fare increases in recent years and I am concerned about the effect that this will have on passengers. Today’s Evening News reports that First Bus are now planning a similar rise too.   People who depend on buses are often some of the least well off in our communities and it is them that will be hit hardest by the SNP’s budget cut.