Many thanks to Stuart George from the IW Bus Users Group for keeping us updated on changes to timetables and prices on the Islands buses. Ed
Both Southern Vectis and Wightbus have announced fares increases from 1 April.
For Southern Vectis this is their second fares increase in 3 months, which they say is due to a large reduction in the recompense paid by the IW Council for the pensioners’ free travel scheme from 76% of the full fare to 48%, and effectively means that fare-paying passengers are now being forced to subsidise the scheme.
They also blame the continuing rise in the price of fuel, which affects bus operators to a greater extent than other road users.
Southern Vectis fares will rise by up to 33%, with the minimum single fare becoming £2.00 and the maximum £4.00. New sample fares are: Ventnor to Shanklin £3.00, Ventnor to Newport £4.00.
Their Freeedom, Rover and NightRider fares remain unchanged and they are introducing a new Freedom 7 Family ticket which will give a week’s unlimited travel for 2 adults and up to 3 children for £40 and provide good value for families visiting the Island on holiday. Wightbus single fares up to £3.00 will rise by 20p, those above by 30p, with the minimum fare becoming £1.50.
The new fare between Ventnor and Shanklin will be £2.30 single, £3.40 return. In addition, 7-day and 28-day passes on their Rail Link service 16 will rise to £18 and £45 respectively, but additional days are being added to compensate for the lack of a Sunday service at present.
There are some ways passengers may be able to avoid some of these increases.
Southern Vectis Freedom tickets will often be cheaper for passengers using bus services 2 or 3 times a week and holders of these tickets will still be able to travel for a flat fare of £1.00 on Wightbus services.
Also many people are unaware that Southern Vectis issue through tickets between any 2 stops on the Island, however many times you need to change buses, and the maximum fare of £4.00 still applies. Just ask for a ticket to your final destination when you get on the first bus. If going out after 1900, a NightRider ticket costs £4.00 and gives unlimited travel until 0700 next morning.
If travelling between Ventnor and Shanklin, Wightbus service 16 is always cheaper than Southern Vectis service 3, especially if you buy a return ticket, but remember it doesn’t run after 1800 or on Sundays. Also children don’t pay adult fare until they reach 16 on all Wightbus services, whereas it’s 14 on Southern Vectis.
Finally, Wightbus service T3 (Tesco bus) will charge non-Tesco Clubcard holders a flat fare of £1.50 regardless of how far you travel and is the cheapest option between Ventnor and Shanklin although it only runs once a day in each direction (1006 from Albert Street, returning from Shanklin at 1235).