England

Bus fares rise across West Midlands and Coventry

National Express West Midland
Image caption Buses were rebranded National Express West Midland in 2008

Fares on National Express West Midlands buses have risen by up to a quarter after a freeze of nearly 18 months.

The company, which runs services across Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry, brought in the rise for cash fares this week.

It said it had pegged the price since last year but could no longer afford to continue.

The company - also known as Travel West Midlands - is also asking drivers to take a voluntary pay cut.

The rises include an adult 'short hop' fare for one or two stages changing from £1.20 to £1.50 in Birmingham and the Black Country, while an adult regional day saver goes from £3.30 to £3.50.

'Holding fares'

National Express West Midlands managing director Neil Barker said it was the first rise for 17 months but the company had frozen its most popular fare, the £1.70 adult single.

"We committed to holding fares into the New Year, which we have done," he said.

"We're halfway through the year now and that is a position we can't hold any longer."

Mr Barker said the pay cuts only affected longer-serving drivers in the highest wage bracket but were entirely voluntary.

He said: "Our top rate of driver pay is above the market rate and increases we have made to other pay rates over the last few years has reduced the natural turnover of staff.

"The business will offer every driver in the West Midlands an opportunity to amend their pay rate in return for a lump sum of money."

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