WHO is First trying to kid?

With all the inevitalility of night following day, First Bus “changed” its fares on January 2. Upwardly, in the main.

It claims, somewhat disingenuously, that this “is necessary to cover rising costs such as fuel”.

That will be the same fuel that taxpayers are already contributing to through their taxes then, as this is one of the several subsidies that private firms like First take from the public purse.

It continues to implore us to “Enjoy Travelling First” but what kind of business is this that charges a king’s ransom to travel on those rust-buckets presumably rejected as being no longer fit for purpose in other parts of the UK (P294KPX has finished serving the south coast, while XDZ5915 has finished its meaningful service in West Yorkshire) that have recently bulked out the Bury depot unless, of course, vintage vehicles is your passion?

Its double-deckers are certainly not enjoyed by the young with their children and buggies, the old with their shopping trolleys or anyone with a disability, due to the steps they have to mount if they are able to board at all. First simply cannot compare to Stagecoach’s business model in South and East Manchester which sees the latter constantly buying new, modern buses and filling them by running frequent services and by charging cheap fares.

In Bury at least, First appears to have done the opposite: by running buses into the ground, by patching them up to keep them on the road, and by charging those who have no option but to travel on them the earth to do so.

Post January 2, 2012, First Day, First Week and First Month tickets will cost £4.50, £18.00 and £58.00; by comparison Stagecoach charge £3.70, £11.50 and £42.00 respectively.

That’s a huge difference and, unlike First, they are not adding insult to injury by having the temerity to claim that they “believe in value for money”. Cllr Noel Bayley Beverley Close Whitefield