Why can't bus fares be £1 forever — instead of just one month?

First Eastern Counties is offering £1 bus trips this month

First Eastern Counties is offering £1 bus trips this month - Credit: Archant

For this month and this month only, people fancying a trip into the city can hop on public transport for £1 after 7pm, any day of the week.

Excellent stuff.

First Eastern Counties is offering the bargain service on any bus travelling within the Norwich zone in a bid to give the night time economy a desperately needed boost — with the move hailed by publicans as nothing less than “ideal”.

I can’t commend the company enough for taking steps to make travel more affordable for city folk, especially in a world of taxi shortages and questions over the fuel supply.

But my question is this: why does it have to be for such a tantalisingly short time period? Why not forever? 

Having grown up in Gateshead, then spending time in the big smoke before heading to Norwich, I’ve seen just how expensive regional public transport is compared to Transport for London.

As a public body, TfL enjoys state grants and bailouts, and can afford to charge its users maddeningly cheap fares.

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In 1985, local bus services outside London were deregulated and privatised: the proviso being that this would ensure increased competition, leading to better services and lower prices.

In reality, the reverse is true, and bus fares outside of London have become eye-wateringly expensive over the years.

Bus fares in London, by the way, are £1.55 ALL YEAR ROUND. 

Here, to travel within the Norwich zone on any day during a regular month it’d set you back a fiver. Might not sound like much, but when you’re reliant on public transport to get around it becomes extortionate.

Besides, aren’t we supposed to be moving towards zero emissions by 2050? How are we going to do that if public transport is more costly than owning your own car?

All in all, then: great initiative, but make that £1 fare permanent please.