TRANSLINK have declined to spell out the full extent of the increases in fares for popular bus routes in the county, despite the new charges being officially introduced in less than three weeks.
The fares across Ulsterbus, train and metro services will increase by 4% on February 16 and as yet it is uncertain how much extra local customers will have to pay.
The fares are going up at a time when the price of road fuel has dropped significantly.
When asked by the Herald how much the fares would increase on routes including the 261 from Enniskillen to Belfast a spokesman from Translink said all details had yet to be finalised.
Back in December Translink’s chief executive David Strahan said Ulsterbus fares would go up by an average of 4%, along with increases in the price of train and Belfast bus services. He said at the time fares had been frozen for the past two years and raising fares was ‘always a last resort’.
“However, like many organisations we have seen many of our costs rise and are facing challenging financial pressures in the year ahead,” he said.
“We now have no option but to increase fares across our bus and rail services.”
At present a one way fare from Enniskillen to Belfast costs £11.50 with a day return priced at £17.50. Only on a Sunday is the fare cheaper in cost as an all-day rambler will set you back £9. To Omagh a standard adult fare will cost you £7.80 one way with the day return priced at £14.
Travelling in around Fermanagh and from Enniskillen to Lisnaskea or Irvinestown currently costs £3.70 one way, £6.70 return, while a bus to Derrylin costs £4.20 one way, £7.60 return. For those travelling in and around Enniskillen a day ticket is priced at £2.50.
On February 16, some if not all of these fares will increase in value.
Local Enniskillen Sinn Fein councillor Debbie Coyle has called for Translink to entice people onto the buses rather than discourage them from using public transport.
“Buses are very expensive now and not just that now with Translink you can’t buy a return ticket that lasts longer than the same day.”
The local councillor suggested a better tactic from Translink would be trying to encourage people on to the buses with ideas such as offering a bus service direct to Belfast International Airport.
“It is unfortunate fares are going up again. The bus is a great means of transport and they should be encouraging that, but instead they’re putting people off.”
She added: Putting prices up and reducing number of services is not encouraging people. I know they’re losing money in certain areas, but still keep the services going.
They need to be thinking outside the box rather than putting up fares.”
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