Bus firm quickly adjusts 176 per cent fare rise

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Parents in a Harborough district village have had a victory after they and the Harborough Mail contacted bus company Arriva about a huge “school run” bus fare increase.

The parents were complaining about fares between the village of Lubenham and Market Harborough, for children attending the town’s Welland Park and Robert Smyth schools.

The fares had gone up from £21 a month to £58 a month over the Easter holidays, said Lubenham parent Jon Fisher.

“When my son told me about this, I genuinely thought the bus driver had made a mistake” said Mr Fisher.

“But it seemed Arriva had dropped the child’s monthly ticket altogether, so everyone suddenly had to pay the adult monthly fare.”

Mr Fisher was one of many Lubenham parents who contacted Arriva to complain.

The Harborough Mail also contacted Arriva to ask them to explain the huge 176 per cent fare increase.

By Wednesday this week, Arriva had moved rapidly to introduce a new child’s ticket to the village-to-town route.

Parents said Arriva had recognised that the big fare increase for children was an oversight.

Simon Mathieson, area managing director for Arriva, told the Mail: “We are grateful for the parents for bringing this issue to our attention.

“To resolve the matter, we have advised parents that from April 25 we will be introducing a £25 ticket to replace the £21 ticket that was withdrawn. We recognise the importance of keeping fares low for our regular customers, and as such we have endeavoured to keep any increases to a minimum, so that we are able to continue providing the quality, value for money services that people expect of us.”

Cath Fisher said: “It’s a good result. It’s still £4 a month more than it was before, but it’s not now a ridiculous increase.”

She added that Lubenham parents had been told that refunds would be available to people who had paid an over-inflated fare. But not everyone in the village was happy. Parent Nikki Kavanagh said the new fare only applied to 16s and under, and should be extended to sixth formers.