Commuters prefer to go by car

PUBLISHED: 12:15 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 22:03 26 October 2009

PASSENGERS are shunning overpriced bus fares and using their cars instead - choking the roads and increasing pollution. Latest statistics from Herts County Council show the trend is becoming ever more apparent. Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps is now fight

PASSENGERS are shunning overpriced bus fares and using their cars instead - choking the roads and increasing pollution.

Latest statistics from Herts County Council show the trend is becoming ever more apparent.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps is now fighting to reduce fares, and has urged Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly to improve "an overlooked service".

He said: "The Government gives out instructions to bus companies but is not actually funding or pursuing them."

County figures reveal bus fares are rising at twice the rate of inflation and the number of bus passengers has plunged by about two per cent every year since the mid-1990s.

Deborah Davis, 43, from WGC, slammed the bus fares.

She said: "I find it cheaper and easier to travel by car. Buses are a waste of time."

Nina Virgo, 32, from Codicote, said: "I have to get a really early bus into WGC every morning; they are irregular and expensive.

"It costs me £2 each way."

A two-mile journey between Oaklands in Welwyn and Knebworth costs £2, while a return between WGC and St Albans is £4.80.

Fares go up by five per cent every year while they keep getting cheaper in London.

With the city's Oyster card all journeys cost just 90p and £3 for unlimited daily bus trips in the capital.

Car ownership in Hertfordshire is the fourth highest in the country and on average, traffic flows have increased by two to three per cent each year - but bus use is far below the national average, statistics show.

WGC county councilor Malcolm Cowan said: "Local authorities need money to meet people's services and needs but the Government does not take bus transport seriously.

"It is a Cinderella service.

"The new country-wide concession for pensioners is welcome but what about everyone under 60?"

Brian Drury, a spokesman for Arriva buses in Hertfordshire, said their prices are fair.

"In our recent survey of bus users across the Shires and Essex, 48 per cent of people claimed they could have made that journey by car as a driver or passenger but chose the bus."

# Are your bus fares fair, or should they be reduced? You can email us at whtimes@archant.co.uk

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