FTR has declared that the trial week of a £2 return bus fare into the city centre has “certainly been a success” but did not suggest that prices were likely to be lowered.
Last week saw FTR running a trial period of lower fares on the presentation of a university student card. FTR announced the trial after talks with YUSU who voiced student dissatisfaction following an increase in fares in March.
The company said that it would need to see around a 45% rise in patronage before lower prices would be viable. An FTR representative said it was “a step in the right direction and an attempt to show the students that we are listening”, but did not suggest that any fare reductions were likely.
FTR has faced criticism for how it chose to conduct the trial. One first year student said “FTR seem determined to prove their own point by making the experiment a failure. They haven’t publicised it on campus so no-one really knows it’s going on and a week isn’t long enough for people to change their habits”.
Publicity of the weeklong trial was limited to adverts on bus screens and posters pinned on the bus stops. The representative admitted: “There’s always room to do more”. Critics have also argued that the advertising solely targeted people who take the buses normally as opposed to students who rarely use the service.
Some have claimed that a trial in the summer term will fail as people are more likely to walk, or travel less because of examinations. FTR says it will compare this week’s figures with those from the same week last year, but there are worries that the recent good weather will distort results.