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MP blasts bus travel costs as 'discrimination against Wirral people'
Wirral’s travelling public is not getting a “fare” deal on the buses because of discriminatory pricing, Birkenhead MP Frank Field has claimed.
Mr Field has complained to Merseytravel about the issue, contrasting bus company Arriva’s zone ticket costs on either side of the River Mersey.
In a detailed memo to Merseytravel chairman Cllr Liam Robertson, he pointed out:
• An Arriva Wirral Zone Day Saver ticket costs £4 compared with the Liverpool saver at £3.90.
• An Arriva Weekly Saver for the Liverpool zone is £14.50 - in contrast Wirral residents have to pay £18 for an Arriva North West and Wales Weekly Saver, even if they are not travelling outside the borough.
Mr Field told the Globe: “This discrimination becomes greater the longer the period the saver ticket covers.
“Discrimination continues with children. Take the Weekly Saver for a child in the Manchester Zone at £6.75, yet for a Wirral child it is £12.
“Even worse is the Four-Weekly Saver. The cost for a child in Manchester is £23.50 but for Wirral it’s £42.
“Wirral residents should be treated equitably with those in Liverpool.
“Many people in Wirral believe they are being discriminated against compared with Liverpool residents.”
Councillor Robinson pledged to raise the issue with Arriva’s senior management.
He said: “Bus fare pricing is something we give a great deal of attention to.
“I really welcome Mr Field’s comments on this issue because bus fare pricing is something we give a great deal of attention to.
“We will be contacting Arriva’s senior management to discuss this issue in general, and the concerns he raises, in the near future.”
In a statement, Arriva said: "We appreciate that without in-depth analysis, fare scales across the North West may appear unjust.
"Ticket zones, such as the Liverpool Zone, are introduced to reflect levels of travel and a network of services in certain geographic areas.
"We constantly review our fare structure to deliver the best value and encourage more people to travel by bus, and have introduced a “Wirral Zone” in recent times to illustrate this.
"However, there is a delicate balance between fares and cost to operate a network of services.
"There are many factors involved, but in simple terms Arriva carry more passengers per bus in the Liverpool Zone than in the Wirral area.
"Our cost to run a bus, however, broadly remains the same regardless of the area.
"To maintain a level of service to meet our customer’s needs, we must take into account the cost of running the service and the amount of passengers who use that service and calculate the fare accordingly. In the Wirral area, Cross River services are also affected by the tunnel toll.
"It is unfair to compare saver ticket prices in Manchester to those in the Merseyside area, as the network of services differs greatly.
"In addition, Manchester child fares are subsidised by Transport for Greater Manchester, which results in half adult fare prices, as compared to two thirds unsubsidised cost throughout the rest of the North West."