Multi-operator tickets are not hiding under a bushel, finds TAS

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Multi-operator tickets are not hiding under a bushel, finds TAS

The TAS Partnership has found that multi-operator tickets are available for 69% of trips reviewed in the latest National Fares Survey across Great Britain – a figure which varies by market, operating group and region.
The National Fares Survey, published this week and covering fares gathered from October 2015, showed that multi-operator tickets are available for:
•    100% of trips in PTE areas
•    74% across GB cities
•    52% across Shire towns
•    Only 43% across interurban areas

The survey also found that 70% of sample trips had a smartcard ticket option and were issued by participating operators, 50% had a mobile ticketing option – a figure which will have since risen.

Regionally, Yorkshire & Humber has the greatest availability of multi-operator tickets at 79% and Wales the least at 53%.

“There is the misconception that multi-operator bus tickets are not widely available in this country,” said Steve Warburton, editor of the survey and TAS director, “but our figures show this is simply not true. The public do have cross-operator choices.

Also, despite the political emphasis on smartcards, mobile ticketing has been developed and introduced far more quickly.”

Steve continued: “The widespread, public expectation that ‘wave and pay’ or rather ‘press and pay’ is the norm will undoubtedly place pressure on bus operators to follow suit and major operators have promised significant progress in this field during 2017.”

Key findings of the National Fares Survey also included:

•    While RPI has increased by 23% since 2009, the GB average adult single fare for a three mile trip in 2015 was £2.21, an increase of only 5% since 2013 but 26% since the first survey in 2009.
•    The average day ticket cost £4.83 – only 2.3% since 2009.
•    The average weekly ticket in our sample cost £16.74 –by just over 21% since 2009.
•    Regular commuters get a good deal from most operators with an average discount of 24% applying to weekly tickets.

Steve concluded: “While rail fares have risen notably above RPI, it is a good news story from the bus industry that the rise in cost of day and weekly bus fares have kept below the rate of inflation, on average and single fares only 3%. This is something the industry should be proud of when faced with significant cost pressures, not least traffic congestion.”

Commenting on the figures, Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users UK, said: “We welcome the latest insights from the TAS Partnership which show that multi-operator ticketing has become more accessible and the cost of bus travel is now more than matching other forms of transport in the main, despite pressures on operators and local authorities during the survey period.

“It’s disappointing that interurban and rural areas are not as well served in this regard and we would hope that all areas catch up soon to ensure that buses are seen as the best travel option for everyone.”

Notes to Editors  

1.    Please find attached: a regional map summarising the average single, daily and weekly fares as well as the percentages of multi-operator ticketing availability for each region; a table of average fares by region; and a graph showing cost changes relative to 2009.

2.    The National Fares Survey, published every two years since 2009 by TAS aims to provide a benchmark and comparison for adult bus fares for ‘typical’ three-mile journeys across Great Britain for journeys which passengers are likely to make.
3.    The analysis covers region, area type and operating group as well as comparison with previous surveys and is the only study of its kind and scope to provide a comprehensive analysis of passenger fares based on similar surveys in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

4.    A sample of 1,028 adult fares was collected using a sample size for each operator in relation to its fleet size, with subsidiaries of the ‘big groups’ treated separately. For operators with simple fares structures (e.g. flat fare scales) and large fleets sample fares were repeated at the same price.

5.    The TAS Partnership is a consultancy whose sole focus and passion is moving the passenger transport sector forwards via high quality and robust research, analysis and advisory services to the passenger transport sector.

6.    For more information, please contact Meera Rambissoon on 01772 204988 or email

7.    For more information on the TAS Partnership, please visit


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