Further to the news announced last week about bus fares/tickets increasing in price from 3rd July 2023, it has been confirmed by Transport for West Midlands that a ‘simplification’ of tickets and fares will make travel by bus easier and give passengers more options as to which operator they travel with.
Diamond are the first operator to confirm that their own ‘Diamond Network’ products in the West Midlands are being withdrawn and replaced with TfWM’s nBus equivalent products, and NX West Midlands will also be doing the same.
Diamond Bus is supporting the news announced on Tuesday 27th June that there will be major simplification of how bus ticketing works in the West Midlands – allowing customers to use any ticket on any bus service across the network
Transport for West Midlands and Bus Operators across the area have been working in partnership to agree a region-wide commitment to simplify the range of ticket available and have agreed that own-operators bus tickets will be replaced by nBus Multi-Operator products. From 3rd July, the sale of single operator only tickets will end and, with the exception of some single and cross boundary tickets, all bus tickets and passes will become nBus, giving customers more flexibility to travel on any bus, at any time, anywhere regardless of the operator.
This means that there will no longer be a premium price attached to travelling flexibly on any operators bus service, and although some passengers may see some cost increases due to some products being removed, Bus fares across the West Midland region are still among the lowest in the UK.“Changes to tickets and fares in the West Midlands Region” – Diamond Bus, 28th June 2023
In a nutshell, Diamond and NX West Midlands are increasing the price of their own day tickets, because they are being replaced by an nBus day ticket – so while the cost has increased, you are now able to travel on ANY bus operator’s service.
Previous events and research revealed that the current bus ticketing range and fare structure is too complicated, and this has been recognised as a barrier to understanding and accessing bus travel.
The aim of this work is to create a better experience for customers and to improve the bus network. As part of this scheme, Transport for West Midlands will deliver a significant simplification to the bus ticket range in the region.
This will position nBus as the only ticket range available for customers to use for travel on any bus in the region. As well as, reducing the range of bus tickets to make it easier for customers to find and buy the right ticket for their travel.
Changes to nBus tickets
- The removal of a number of tickets from the nBus ticket range. This will include area-specific tickets for the Black Country, Coventry, Sandwell & Dudley, and Walsall.
- A price increase will be introduced to nBus tickets to align with the recently announced operator price rise and inflation.
“Changes to Bus tickets from Monday 3 July 2023” – Transport for West Midlands, 28th June 2023
- All nBus tickets purchased before 3rd July 2023, will continue to be accepted on any bus operator that accepts nBus, within the bus travel area until their expiry date.
- Fewer ticket options will allow customers to have a simplified ticket-buying experience.
- No need to wait for a specific bus operator. Jump on your next available bus at any time.
£2 max single fare cap
Both NX West Midlands and Diamond Bus have confirmed that they will continue to participate in the UK Goverment’s “Help For Households” scheme that caps single fares at £2 until the end of October 2023.
The Government initiative, which first launched in January 2023 as part of the Government’s Help for Households scheme, has been warmly received by customers across the region with six million National Express West Midlands passengers taking advantage of the single fare offer.
Passengers using contactless will find their fare cap is automatically applied so they never pay more than they should – as long as they tap on with the same card or device and use the same operator.
A spokesperson for National Express West Midlands said:
“We recognise the challenges that household budgets are facing at the moment so we’re pleased to confirm we’re participating in the Government’s extended £2 fare scheme. This will mean customers across the West Midlands can beat the 3rd July fare rises. If they do just two journeys a day and pay by contactless, their fare will be capped at £4, making sure they never overpay.
“We’re on our customers’ side and continue to work hard to provide great value bus travel on our comprehensive network, making it even easier for customers to ditch the car and switch to the bus.”“National Express West Midlands’ confirms its continued participation in the Government’s £2 single fare cap” – NX Bus, 28th June 2023
Additionally, Diamond Bus are pleased to announce that we will also continue to take part in the Government funded £2 fare cap scheme until the end of October 2023, So you can still travel on the majority of eligible services for just £2 per trip. Making bus travel even more accessible for everyone“Changes to tickets and fares in the West Midlands Region” – Diamond Bus, 28th June 2023
Contactless payments and fare-capping
Unfortunately due to technical limitations because of different ticketing systems used by operators, for those passengers who currently prefer to use a contactless bank card or mobile phone to pay for their travel, any fare caps will still only apply if passengers use their bank card on those bus operators’ services.
TfWM are advising passengers who wish to take advantage of ‘tap-and-cap’ across all operators to sign up for a free Swift Go smart card instead. While you can add credit to a Swift Go card, you can also link it to a bank card, and it then works the same way as if using a contactless bank card, but allows ‘tap-and-cap’ fare capping across all bus operators.
Ideal for those bus passengers who don’t travel that frequently and are not yet ready to pay for a regular weekly or monthly pass, and would like the flexibility to travel on all bus operators’ services across the West Midlands region.
Find out more here: https://www.tfwm.org.uk/swift-and-tickets/swift-go/