Fares. One of the most talked and complained about aspects of bus travel. Like anything that requires money to be handed over, there'll always be an opinion as to whether something represents good value or not. There are many aspects regarding fares, so I'll make a number of posts on this and look at different angles as I see them.
For this one, I've chosen to look at the availability of fare information. Both Cardiff and Newport bus operate exact fare policies and have a very simple pricing structure. As an example, this demonstrates Cardiff Bus' all day ticket options:
Neither operator gives change on board, but fare information is easily available at most stops and can be seen on the outside of most of their vehicles. The result is that the vast majority of passengers know how much their journey will cost and will have the correct money to pay their fare, resulting in quicker loading times (than drivers having to give change).
The other operators in South Wales sell single and return tickets from A to B, plus a variety of all-day, weekly, monthly and longer tickets which generally allow unlimited travel on their services, dependant on ticket type and area of validity. Information for these all-day, weekly etc tickets are readily available from operators' websites, Stagecoach in particular have an excellent 'Tickets To Go' booklet, which is sometimes available on board and can be downloaded from their website, and lists all of their daily and weekly fares, together with local area maps.
However, neither of them offer any information about the costs of their single and return tickets. This is disappointing in a number of ways. Supermarket prices are available on their websites if you log into their home delivery sections. Train fares are readily available. In fact, I think I can look up the cost of most things online, bar single and return bus ticket prices (this will be looked into further in a later post).
A chance visit to Stagecoach's Oxford website makes for interesting viewing - a pdf with fare charts for all of their routes, so passengers can find out exactly what their fare will cost (as seen below).
Surely this should be the norm for all operators, and all single and return fare information should be easily obtained?