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Scrapping of return bus fares tagged 'unfair' to seaside town

PUBLISHED: 17:38 05 February 2020

The number 25 First bus at Castle Meadow, Norwich.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The number 25 First bus at Castle Meadow, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A bus company's decision to end return fares on coastal routes discriminates against Great Yarmouth, it is claimed.

Under the changes First Bus passengers can no longer buy a return on certain routes and are being invited to purchase two singles or a day ticket, which is usually more expensive.

However, routes to Norwich are unaffected.

Rebecca Hampton, of The Linen Line in Market Gates, said the issue came to light when she was chatting with customers.

She said two women from Acle were shocked to discover they could no longer buy their usual return ticket to Yarmouth for £5 and were offered a day ticket or two singles for £6.

Meanwhile, they could travel further to Norwich on a return ticket for £5. Mrs Hampton said it made it "harder still" for Yarmouth.

MORE: How much will your bus ticket cost?

"They said they couldn't get a return to Yarmouth but they could for Norwich. It is only a skip up the Acle Straight. It has got to be wrong.

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"Why are they doing it on some routes and not others? We do not need any more reasons to put people off coming here.

"Money is tight for people. At the end of the day they can so easily go in the other direction.

"It is discrimination against the town."

Another passenger who usually travels from Hopton to Avondale Road in Gorleston said she could no longer buy her £5 return ticket and was shocked to have to pay £6 instead for a day ticket.

David Jordan, marketing manager at First Eastern Counties said: "On January 11 this year, we made some slight adjustments to some of our ticket prices across several ticket zones within the Eastern Counties bus network.

"Additionally, following a successful pilot carried out in our Norwich and Great Yarmouth zones over the previous 12 months, we took the decision to remove return tickets and replace these with our day ticket product, that offers the additional feature of unlimited travel in the chosen zone.

"These are available both on bus, with contactless or cash, or at a lower price as an mTicket on the First Bus App.

"We always encourage customers to check out our 'full ticket range' as there are plenty of options for short, medium and long journeys."

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