Southampton City Council have agreed to extend their financial support towards the £1 Evening Bus Fare until at least the end of this year.
The discounted fare was implemented by Bluestar and City Red back in June 2021 as a means of encouraging people to go back to using public transport following the third COVID-19 lockdown. These tickets are available on all routes and in all fare zones after 6pm in order to support Southampton’s night-time economy.
Although they are currently only available for a single fare, Marc Reddy, Managing Director of First Hampshire Dorset & Berkshire, has confirmed that they are ‘also about to introduce a £2 evening return fare, available from 6pm every evening and across all zones’.
In a statement on the Southampton City Council website, Councillor Jeremy Moulton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Growth, said:
The £1 Evening Bus Fare offer has been a great initiative by our bus operators to support the city’s economy recovery and get Southampton moving. In partnership with them we are pleased to support them in continuing it over the coming months, especially during the build up to Christmas. The fare is well-aligned with the package of measures proposed in the Bus Service Improvement Plan, which seeks to make travelling by bus more affordable and attractive to residents and visitors.
The Bus Service Improvement Plan is a bid that is being submitted to the Government later this month in order to obtain a share of a £3bn fund for buses.
This news comes as Bluestar have announced cuts to some of their services following recent driver shortages. In an email to bus users, the company confirmed that from Monday 1st November, the Bluestar 9 service will be reduced to every 30 minutes rather than every 20 minutes from Monday to Saturday, while the Bluestar 18 will be reduced to no less than every 10 minutes from Monday to Friday and during Saturday daytimes. All other services are expected to remain the same.