Bus travellers' fury over fares increase

BUS passengers in rural west Edinburgh have been left furious after fares were hiked by up to 44 per cent in just six months.

A day ticket for the First service between South Queensferry and Kirkliston to the city centre now costs 3.60 - up from an off-peak price of 2.50 in April. The operator has now scrapped the off-peak ticket and, if compared with other cities, the fare is the second most expensive in First's UK operation, with only passengers in Bristol paying more.

First is the only operator to run buses to and from South Queensferry and Kirkliston. Even though residents there pay Edinburgh council rates, they cannot travel on the council-owned Lothian Buses, offering the cheapest day ticket in the UK at 2.30.

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After First's fare increase this week - the second rise this year - community leaders have now written to city council leader Ewan Aitken, asking him to intervene.

He said he understood the "frustration" and today vowed to pursue ways of reducing fares.

A spokesman for First said today: "Our costs have increased substantially higher than [inflation]. Fuel costs have gone up by more than 50 per cent in the last 18 months and payroll costs have also exceeded inflation. We have no alternative but to reflect those increases in our fares."

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