Passengers are bracing themselves for more fares misery.
Bus operators First Scotland East confirmed last week rises of between 10 and 30p will be introduced on Sunday - but now the Confederation of Passenger Transport which represents Scotland’s bus and coach firms a has warned they will be pushed even higher to pay for the concessionary travel scheme for over 60s and disabled travellers.
They have complained demand for free travel far exceeds the funding available and they are not being compensated for the millions of passenger journeys they provide.
The CPT has called for a full review of who qualifies for the government’s flagship policy to control costs which have rocketed since its introduction in 2006.
Director George Mair claimed: “Bus firms are now being asked to subsidise and deliver the scheme and the current funding arrangements are simply not sustainable. The Scottish Government has made it compulsory for operators to take part in the full knowledge they will not be fully reimbursed.”
Bus companies are facing a 20 per cent cut to the Bus Service Operators Grant from next month and the Scottish Government has capped funding for free bus travel in 2012-13 at £187 million.
Paul Thomas, managing director of First Scotland East, said: “As a result of the cut we have undertaken a comprehensive review of bus services within our operating area and will be making alterations to some from April. Every cost associated with running a bus company is increasing and despite the significant progress we have made in making our business more efficient we simply cannot rule put the possibility of an extra fares increase later this year.”