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Angry at rail fare rises? Local bus tickets are going up just as quickly

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Bus fare increases have flown under the radar for decades, despite rising just as fast as train fares and the fact that buses are used by more people. 

Outcry over rail fare increases – this year of 3.1pc – has become an annual tradition, as the overall cost of commuting by train has risen by 36pc since 2010. But campaigners have pointed out that bus passengers have had it just as tough.

According to the Government’s National Travel Survey published last year, the number of journeys taken by bus far outstrips those taken by train. Both modes of transport have seen fare rises above the rate of inflation.

Excluding London buses and the Tube, the average person travelled by bus 37 times in 2017 and only 21 times by rail. Overall, 6pc of all journeys were by bus, compared with just 2pc by train.

Research suggests rail travel is mainly concentrated in London and the South East, with rural communities in particular heavily reliant on bus travel.

A study by polling agency YouGov showed that 39pc of people did not set foot on a train in the past 12 months, with most making fewer than two journeys. 

The Campaign for Better Transport revealed in October that government funding for buses, which is largely provided by county councils, fell by more than £20m in 2017-18 alone.

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