Harrogate Bus Company announces first fare rises in three years for passengers as rising costs hit businesses too

Harrogate Bus Company has pledged its first set of fare rises in three years will allow it to invest in future improvements for passengers.

By Graham Chalmers
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 12:49 pm

As inflation rises and costs soar, the award-winning bus firm says is not alone in facing a triple whammy of greater energy bills, staff shortages and the failure of customer demand to recover fully to pre-Covid levels since lockdown ended.

In an era when not only public transport system but the British economy as a whole is feeling the pain, Harrogate Bus Company's passengers facing their own cost of living problems will now face a wide range of changes to bus fares in and around Harrogate from this Sunday.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

Committed to better buses for passengers - Alex Hornby, chief executive officer of Harrogate Bus Company (Transdev Blazefield) with part of his electric fleet.

The company says, although it has resisted raising the price of tickets for three years despite the Covid pandemic, it has not been immune to increasing costs and the time to act to boost revenues to ensure it can deliver a high-tech, high quality service for the years ahead is right now.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Bus Company told the Harrogate Advertiser today:

"We fully realise that the price of almost everything is rising at the moment, especially fuel and energy.

"Unfortunately, we are also not immune to these increased costs - price changes are a common factor across many businesses at the moment.

"Along with many other transport operators across the country, we have now reached a point where we need to ask our customers to share some of this with us.

"We have held prices down for a while now - this is our first fares change since September 2019 - and our tickets are still good value, especially compared with other forms of transport, including the car.

"These changes will allow us to continue recovering from COVID, increasing timetables back to pre-pandemic levels, investing and improving wage rates - all after almost three years of holding down fares.

"We've also taken this opportunity to simplify our ticket range where we can to make travel easier, while still offering flexibility to our regular customers."

Harrogate Bus Company has previously been recognised at a national level for its electric bus fleet which serves certain routes at the moment.,

In January 2017, the fire set out the ambition to convert its entire fleet to a complete zero emission operation.

That dream looks set to become a reality after Harrogate Bus Company - in conjunction with North Yorkshire County Council and supported by its parent firm Transdev - was awarded £7.8 million by the Government as part of a joint bid to make the firm's fleet all-electric with the delivery of 39 zero-emission buses.

As a result, Harrogate Bus Company is to introduce 20 new single-decker and 19 new double-decker electric buses over the next three years, as well as installing the supporting charging infrastructure required to go all-electric.

But the company, which has pushed for the creation of new bus lanes and park and rides to make a switch from cars to buses possible in the battle to reduce Harrogate's carbon emissions, has also warned the Government needs to do more to invest properly to meet its commitments to better public transport.

And last month saw Alex Hornby, chief executive officer of Harrogate Bus Company (Transdev Blazefield), insist that, despite all the fears about some buses being delayed or cancelled amid widespread recruitment problems since Covid and Brexit, most services provided by Harrogate Bus Company were still meeting timetable standards.

Writing in the Harrogate Advertiser in April, Mr Hornby said: "Most of our buses do turn up - well over nine out of ten journeys, even at the moment when we are doing our best to battle through what is a national shortage of drivers.

"We are a business that must make a profit so we can invest and improve.

"We, therefore, need to ensure our fares cover the costs of our operation (and these aren’t insignificant at a bus company - wages, fuel, insurance, vehicles, depots, marketing, training: the list goes on) and give us enough of a return to allow us to commit to future investment and fleet renewal."

Factfile: Harrogate Bus Company fare rises from May 22

Singles and Returns

All prices will change. Examples on some of our popular journeys will include:

Harrogate Electrics. From Bilton, Jennyfield and Pannal will be £3.00 single and £4.50 return. Short journeys will cost £1.80.

The 1 from Starbeck, Forest Lane and Golf Club to Harrogate will be £2.70, Knaresborough Estates to Harrogate £3.60. Short journeys will be £1.60 or £2.20

The 36 from Ripon or Harrogate to Leeds will be £7.50 single and £9.00 return

Multi journey tickets will change:

Harrogate 1 – unlimited travel for one day £5.00 for adult, £3.40 Under 19s. Buy in bundles of 5 for £21 and 10 for £40. A group ticket is £10

Harrogate 7 – seven days of travel £15.50 for adults, £10.30 for under 19s.

Harrogate 28 – four weeks of travel for £58 or £40 for under 19s. Also available on a monthly subscription for the same price.

12 journey tickets within the Harrogate Zone £20.00 (£2.17/trip)

The Starbeck to Harrogate and Starbeck to Knaresborough tickets will no longer be sold and replaced by the above ticket range.

For more details and information on Harrogate Bus Company's bus fare changes, visit:

https://www.transdevbus.co.uk/harrogate/changes-fares-22-may