PlusBus fares and booking system set to change

Civic Offices
Civic Offices

AN elderly woman has bemoaned changes to a bus service which could see her miss out on a regular trip to get her weekly shop.

The PlusBus system sees people book regular door-to-door journeys to a host of different locations. It is designed to be used by travellers who would no longer have access to a car, such as pensioners over 80, the blind and wheelchair users.

However, a change in schedules, set to come into force early next year, will see users having to re-book their journeys as a block booking or call every week on a casual basis. Prices are also set to increase.

The passenger, who did not want to be named, said: “I have been using the service for the past seven years and now all of a sudden they have changed it and the schedule will be all different.

“Prices for journeys will also be increasing from £2.65 to £3.90. It’s upsetting for elderly people who just want to get out and get their shopping on a day that might not be convenient for them.”

However, a council spokesman said that people should still be able to make their trips on the days they are used to.

“Milton Keynes Community Transport, which operates PlusBus on behalf of Milton Keynes Council, is carrying out a reschedule of the regular trips, by asking all members to rebook their regular journeys, with a view to introducing a completely new set of schedules from early 2013,” he said.

“This is because the current schedules were established back in 2006, and as the Borough has changed and developed, as have people’s travel needs and patterns.

“It is likely that some users may have altered journeys as a result. However, by booking on a casual basis, instead of signing up for a service regularly, it is also feasible that customers, such as the lady concerned here, would still be able make their trip on the day that they are used to.

“In terms of the proposed increase in PlusBus fares, this is in the current budget proposals for next year, but has not yet been agreed. That said, it would bring the cost of a PlusBus journey in line with regular bus fares, but with the advantage of it being a ‘door to door’ service.”