Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop today (29th March 2016) hit out at news given to local bus passengers by Arriva that fares will be going up yet again. News of this latest fare hike came just a week after the announcement of bumper profits by the bus and train operator.
“In a leaflet now being given to local bus passengers, Arriva boldly say that “we need to increase most of our single, return and day ticket fares by a maximum of 10p and weekly tickets by a maximum of 30p. This increase will be applied from Sunday 3rd April 2016.”
“But what that leaflet did not say was that in the last year, the cash put into the fare boxes by Teesside passengers contributed to record profits for the company. The Stock Exchange announcement reported a sharp rise in pre-tax earnings and revenue as the company gears up to take control of Northern Rail services next week. In its annual results the company said revenues were up sharply, rising from £4.4 billion to £4.8 billion, a 7.8 per cent increase. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation rose 5.4 per cent to £525m from £498 million.
“This may be seen as good news for Arriva Directors in the UK and for the firm’s ultimate owners, German State rail company Deutsche Bahn, but for local bus users – especially in the Redcar and Cleveland area, where the company has a virtual monopoly of local bus services – it is very bad news altogether. I would urge Arriva and, indeed, Deutsche Bahn to think again and reflect on the ethics of a cash rich company asking for yet more cash from local bus users, and to simply absorb this year’s increase in their profits.”