ALL fares on Brighton and Hove Buses could soon cost £1 under a radical new scheme being considered for the autumn.

The firm is planning to increase fares to combat rising fuel and wage costs.

Managing director Roger French said he wanted to introduce the flat fare for all journeys in Brighton and Hove.

It would mean a reduction for people travelling on some routes, but a rise of 20p on the current town centre rate of 80p.

Previously, the firm has increased its three fares, which are currently 80p, £1 and £1.30.

Mr French said the rises were needed to finance a proposed 13 per cent, two-year pay rise to staff and diesel increases of 30 per cent.

He said: "Among the ideas being considered from the autumn is a radical proposal for a £1 flat fare.

"It would be a wonderfully simple system everyone would understand.

"One of the barriers to using public transport at the moment is lack of knowledge of fares.

"As has been found out in London, which switched to a flat fare in January, it encourages more people to travel because it is so simple.

"It also speeds up boarding time as the transaction with the driver is much more simple and straightforward."

Mr French said there would be reductions in fares for people in Shoreham, Mile Oak, Patcham and Hollingbury, who might be encouraged to switch from cars for trips into town.

But he said: "The downside is that people making short journeys might perceive £1 as too expensive for the journey and walk instead.

"Research is under way to establish what might happen in practice and a trial system may be considered.

"Taking this radical approach would be something of a gamble, but it may be a better solution than simply increasing existing fares."

The firm said it welcomed comments before deciding whether to go ahead with a trial.

Mr French said: "If the gamble paid off, we would raise extra revenue and offset cost increases. We are not afraid of being bold and enterprising."

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