First has introduced an ‘experimental’ set of bus fares in Taunton. Fares have been simplified and new tickets introduced in a bid to make travel easier and more attractive. The experiment will be used to help develop a larger review of ticket prices across a much wider part of Somerset. The operator has also introduced a new network of bus services in the town. The experimental fares are available across routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, as well as parallel sections of other routes that run to and from Taunton. Within the town, there will be a flat £3 day return, which will include journeys where a change of bus is needed. The equivalent single fare is now £2. For the majority of existing customers, the change represents a cut in the price of travel. Children between five and 15 years of age have seen all their fares reduced, fixed at half of the equivalent adult fare. The Taunton Weekly Passes have been reduced to £15. There will be no differential for peak and off peak travel. The current £4.30 FirstDay ticket will be replaced by the ‘Anywhere to Anywhere’ £3 return that includes changes of bus.
Director for First in the South West, Alex Carter, said, ‘We’re committed to reviewing our whole operation in Somerset, improving each aspect of the offer to our customers and potential new customers. We’ve taken on board feedback from customers about the lack of some ticket types, the complicated nature of fares, and restrictions on some tickets. We’re taking the opportunity of delivering a new set of fares and tickets alongside the new network of Taunton bus routes, which have been designed to encourage growth in bus usage. We’ll be keeping a close watch on the results of the changes to see how they work in the town, to help deliver improvements both in Taunton and more widely in Somerset later in the year.’