Taunton bus fares to rise from June 1 despite rising passenger numbers

The 28 bus runs between Taunton and Minehead
The 28 bus runs between Taunton and Minehead -Credit:Ian Liddell-Grainger MP

Bus fares across Taunton will rise from June 1, despite a rapid increase in the number of passengers using the service. Somerset Council currently subsidises the cost of bus tickets across Taunton, using funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) to encourage larger number of residents and visitors to utilise public transport.

Since the £1 single fare was introduced for the Taunton Town Zone in late-2022, passenger numbers in Taunton has jumped by nearly 30 per cent. In order to keep these services viable, the council has announced that single tickets will rise in price from June 1 - though the park and ride will not be affected.

The changes were announced following a virtual meeting of the council's bus advisory board which was held on Tuesday morning (April 30). From June 1, a single ticket within the Taunton fare zone will rise from £1 to £1.50 for an adult, with a child ticket costing 80p - and these rates will be reviewed before Christmas.

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Passengers using either the Gateway or Silk Mills park and ride sites - whether to reach the town centre or Musgrove Park Hospital - will continue to pay only £1 for a single fare. The £2 single fare cap for all bus services across Somerset will remain in place until December, using central government funding.

Councillor Richard Wilkins, portfolio holder for transport and digital, said: "We have been able to use ring-fenced funding from the government’s bus service improvement plan (BSIP) grant to subsidise capped fares - but this money only goes so far. However, despite growing financial demands and the need to support other bus services we are pleased to still be able to offer significantly capped fares for Taunton.

The Taunton £1 bus fare zone
The Taunton £1 bus fare zone -Credit:Somerset County Council

"The new fare is still less than half the cost of a single journey five years ago." The Somerset BSIP aims to make bus travel more attractive by working with operators to ensure reliable and affordable bus services.

The council received nearly £13m from the DfT in 2021 as part of the government's 'bus back better' initiative to encourage people to return to using public transport following the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to fare caps, the funding has been used to support threatened services, including the 25 (which runs from Dulverton to Taunton via Wiveliscombe) and the 54 (which runs between Yeovil and Taunton via Ilchester, Somerton and Langport).