Fare’s fair? Confusion over St Albans’ Uno bus price hike

Louise's daughter, Marni, on an Uno bus.

Louise's daughter, Marni, on an Uno bus. - Credit: Archant

Confusion surrounds an alleged hike in bus fares across the district which has left a St Albans mum frustrated and out of pocket.

On August 27 the University of Hertfordshire’s bus service, Uno, announced general revised charges across its network - to the shock of St Albans resident Louise Lawson.

Louise’s 10-year-old daughter Marni uses the 653 every weekday to get from her New Greens home to school. Louise says she was told the price has risen from 90p to £1.30.

Marni is one year too young to use a savers card, and therefore has no way of avoiding the price hike.

Over a 39 week school year under the 90p fare, Marni would have had to pay £175.50. If it costs £1.30, she would have to fork out £253.50 - a 44 per cent increase.

Louise said: “My argument is, how is it fair that children aged from five to 10 [who cannot get savers cards] and their parents will be charged that amount? It’s hitting the parents of children that are travelling on the bus.

“They are supposed to be encouraging people to use public transport to get to work or school to save the environment - where is the encouragement here?” As only Uno services operate her desired route, she has no choice but to use that bus.

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“Herts county council can’t do anything, and there’s no other regulation of it, Uno just seem to do what they want, then they want, and that’s become more apparent over the last year.” She was also shocked at the “poor communication” about the revised charges.

Another woman, Brenda Wilson, who was also riding the bus when Louise and Marni got on, said: “I think it’s disgraceful, why would a child under 11 have to pay £1.30 each way?

“I feel so strongly because I have great nieces and nephews and if a mother has got three children under 11, how much is that going to cost her? I just feel for the parents.”

But when the Herts Ad got in touch with Uno, a spokesperson said that particular fare has not changed, and under 11s should still pay 90p: “It’s not possible to comment on specific cases without having all the information to hand but if any of our customers are in doubt about fare prices, or if they think they have been charged an incorrect price for their travel, they should contact our office and speak to one of the Uno team.”