Don’t worry, bus fares can be just as bonkers as train ones

Published on 19 May 2011 in , , ,

I have in the past written about the madness of train fares. My favourite is where a more flexible ticket that you can buy on the day turns out to be cheaper than a restrictive advance fare on the same train. It’s completely illogical. Why would anyone want to buy a ticket with loads of strings attached above a cheaper one with far less?

The Open Top Bus

Train companies I thought. And tutted loudly, rolling my eyes.

And then I found out it’s not just train companies that are inflicted with such strangeness. You get find on the buses too.

This weekend I’m heading up to do some walking in the Lakes and will be getting the bus from Windermere station to the campsite near the Old Dungeon Ghyll. After setting up my tent I may then be heading back to Windermere on the bus to meet an old work colleague for a pint.

Knowing I’d need to get two buses just to get to Dungeon Ghyll, and with the thought of having to make a return journey, I thought it would make sense to explore ticketing options before I arrived so I emailed Stagecoach in Cumbria and asked them what the price of a single ticket was, and what a return was. Oh and did they have any day tickets that might be useful.

They replied with the info.

A single for the journey on two buses would be £5.65.

The return ticket would be £9.75 – a saving of £1.55.

And an all day ticket (the Central Lakes Dayrider), giving me unlimited travel between Bowness and Grasmere, on the 516 to Dungeon Ghyll and on the 505 to Conniston would cost me (wait for it…) a massive £6.50, and with no time based restrictions that often happen on such tickets.

Which means that the return ticket giving me just two journeys costs £3.25 more than the ticket that gives me unlimited travel within the local area. So why have a higher fare for the return ticket at all?

But then, since when did logic come into these things?

Interestingly £9.75 is also the cost of a whole days travel across Stagecoach buses in Cumbria and Lancashire – whether the return in question above is actually that ticket, my correspondent didn’t tell me.

And if you’re interested, if I do meet with my ex-colleague, there’s no buses to get back to Dungeon Ghyll. Taxi it would have to be.