Arriva set to increase Welwyn Hatfield pupils’ bus fares
- Credit: supplied
Arriva will increase the price of bus tickets in the autumn term for Welwyn Hatfield pupils.
Term bus tickets will rise from £105 to £135 for autumn - an increase of 28 per cent - for the bus operator's Welwyn Hatfield service.
The growth is above inflation calculations, but a spokesman for Arriva maintains that the "price changes are in line with our standard, routine price revisions".
However Arriva will not be extending the fare increase for the spring and summer term by the same rates.
Summer and spring term tickets will move to £110, which is a rise of just £5.
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Arriva's 300 and 301 route, which operates from Stevenage to Hemel Hempstead and goes through Welwyn and Hatfield, has also been in trouble before for its cancelled and late services.
And as recently as last week the company had 68 cancellations in six days from Stevenage - which affected the 300 and 301 routes as well.
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An Arriva spokesperson said in response: "We are currently doing all we can to increase the number of quality-trained drivers in Stevenage and are continuing to bring new people into the industry by offering full training and incentives.
"We will continue to work hard in resolving this issue and hope to see an improvement in driver numbers in the next few weeks."
A spokesperson for Unite - the trade union responsible for many Arriva employees - said that the driver shortages are due to insufficient pay, as well as being so close to London where pay rates are much higher.
They said: "Hopefully this will be a short-term issue, as we are working with Arriva on possible solutions to try to attract new drivers."
In a response to the cancellations, Arriva boss for Hertfordshire and Essex Gavin Hunter confirmed in April that £200,000 has been set aside for investment in the 300/301 services, as well as plans for an overhaul of the timetable this September.
Arriva says the fare increase is "not linked to the 300/301 scheme".
"This 300/301 scheme has been designed separately to improve the reliability and punctuality of the service in Hertfordshire, and we hope that our customers benefit from these improvements," an Arriva spokesman said.