Standing Up To Corporate Greed

I’ve written several posts on corporate tax dodgers and greed and this week, none was more surprised to be confronted by another example of this just a minute from where I live when I got on my local bus.

Imagine my surprise when my bus ticket increased from £10 to £15 overnight.  A figure so obscene and unjustified that my bus driver was angry enough to say he was disgusted and that someone should go to the local newspaper about it.  In fact the rise was so disproportionate that some passengers simply did not believe the driver that the price had increased so much which resulted in arguments.

I don’t mind prices going up by 2-3% a year or even sometimes 10% but whoever heard of a bus ticket going up 50% from one day to the next.   Whilst even this figure doesn’t bother me overly much as I simply claim it as a cost on by business travel, I thought it was very unfair to others in my neighbourhood who aren’t all as fortunate as myself.

This multi-journey ticket is also proportionately much cheaper than single or return tickets which are around £3.70.   Can you imagine paying $6 for a bus ticket of just 2 or 3 miles…. astonishing when just a few miles away in London you can have a bus journey lasting 8 or 10 miles for just £1.   Me thinks Arriva Buses are ripping off consumers.

So I went to the local newspaper who were more than interested in the story, so much so that it ended up being one of the most commented upon reports in the town this week.   Incredibly the spokeswoman for the rip-off Arriva Bus company doesn’t even try to deny the 50% increase and defends it as enhancing the service.

I see it as another purely money-grabbing exercise from this multi-national conglomerate…. this one from Germany.  I don’t know if they have ever been on their own buses but in the rush hour there is no room to even stand in comfort, let alone access wifi.  In the quieter day time periods, most of the passengers are so old and frail, they can barely beep their free bus-pass onto the card reader, I’ve never heard one person ask about wi-fi.  I have however heard lots of people complaining about the poor and now ever more expensive service.

You can see the report below!

Bus Ticket Rip-Off

My last bus ticket on the left costing £10, my new bus ticket on the right costing £15!!

A passenger is boycotting a bus firm after it hiked its prices by 50 per cent overnight.

Stephen Liddell, 43, has used the Arriva number 10 bus service, which goes from Woodside to Holywell Estate, for more than 10 years. For the past four years he has paid £10 for ten journeys, but when he boarded the bus yesterday he was shocked to discover that the price had risen to £15.

There was no prior warning and he said the bus driver agreed that the inflation was not justified.

He said: “I honestly think this could be the biggest ticket price rise in history. Arriva are absolutely taking the mick.

“The buses are no quicker or cleaner, and the drivers certainly aren’t getting a pay rise, so how can they actually justify this?

“The route is really popular with schoolchildren too so it seems strange that they’d increases the prices. I won’t be using the service in future because it doesn’t make any sense to – it’s cheaper for me to drive and park in town.”

Several bus routes have recently been axed in Watford, and Mr Liddell said sharp price increases will deter people from using public transport.

He said: “The bus companies have closed down several routes in Watford in the last few years – if they put the prices up 50 per cent overnight then who can blame residents for not using them. In the end, only those without alternatives will use the buses and then it will be too late to save the routes.

“The buses are always late too, and the traffic can be appalling in the busy periods; pricing out people from using the buses doesn’t seem to be a good idea to reduce congestion and help the environment.

“I also worry that many poorer people might not afford to be able to travel into town as much as they would like, which will impact on the wider community as well as their health and happiness.”

But an Arriva spokesperson, who claims they have not increased ticket prices for two years, said the price hike will “enhance” the service.

Rachel Knight said: “We are investing a significant sum of money across the Southern Counties region this year to enhance our fleet and services for our customers. As well as new vehicles, this means we can provide free wifi, USB charging points and the latest clean engines to deliver our ambitious environmental targets across Arriva and by 2020.

“We are also putting money into technology with the development of our apps, making paying on your smartphone and tracking a journey much easier. We have recently added the ability to purchase tickets online using a PayPal account, making it easier and more secure than ever before.

You can read the full report on the link below at the Watford Observer website.

http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/15200568.Passenger_boycotts_bus_firm_after_massive_fare_hike/

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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8 Responses to Standing Up To Corporate Greed

  1. Ankur Mithal says:

    This happens to be one of my favourite topics, Stephen. And this seems to be a classic case of disproportionate pricing of peanuts (the so-called additional services).
    But there are some vexing issues here:
    1. We have collectively opted for the open, free market based, competitive system. At times we may need to take the bad with the good.
    2. If a private business is being exclusively permitted to run a service, that permission is usually granted by a representative council. In this case, does the permission granted include the right to arbitrarily raise prices? If that is the case, the council may have overlooked some bets.
    3. If the service is open for competition, then some other provider should see an opportunity and step in to provide it at a lower price, or so goes the theory.
    Either ways, greater common good has to be the objective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a very interesting subject isn’t it? In the UK in the 1980’s almost all public transport was taken away from state or local council control with private operators bidding for a licence to run the required services. I am wondering if there has now become a disconnect especially as those in the local government here are less likely to be the type of person who regularly use public transport and so have different expectations and experiences of what it is like for every day people.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a sign of the times we’re living in. In college, I learned that price inflation is a function of supply-and-demand; that is, in a truly free-market economy. With the advent of globalization and its huge transnational corporations, market competition – which would moderate inflationary pressures – has been stifled through the mechanisms of corporatism (i.e. a close association between government and big business).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I think you’re right Robert. The role of the customer or consumer has become disconnected due to the close association between government and big business which often leads to not much more than a state-sponsored monopoly but without the safeguards of a public service run for and by the public.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mel & Suan says:

    The question is: what is public transport? If run by a private company, does it still deliver a public good or is it a pure profit driven agenda?

    Liked by 2 people

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