SIMPLER fares and greater discounts for children and students will be introduced on all First buses in Wiltshire next month.

After a six-week public consultation the bus operator, which manages routes across Bristol, Bath and into north and west Wiltshire, has revealed a new fare structure.

Single fares will now be based purely on the distance travelled, with all one-way tickets costing between £1.50 and £5.50. Return fares have been removed, with a new ‘West of England’ all-day ticket available for £7. Weekly, monthly and annual tickets will also be available.

While exact fares have not yet been set, they will increase by £1 for around every three miles travelled. This means a journey less than three miles will be £1.50, from three to six miles £2.50, six to nine miles £3.50, nine to 12 miles £4.50, and anything over 12 miles £5.50.

First West of England managing director Paul Matthews, pictured right, said: “We have worked hard to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from the changes we are making, but accept there will be a small number of people who may see their fares increase.

“This is especially so where flat fares are introduced as the nature of the beast is that a flat fare has to be set at an average point. Flat fares are however incredibly easy to understand, and once implemented people will instantly know how much the journey will cost.”

Other changes include all children aged five to 15 receiving an automatic 50 per cent discount, where they currently get anything between 25 and 35 per cent.

Young people aged 16 to 21 will receive a 30 per cent discount if they use a First ID card on their journey. These will be free for anyone in full-time education, or will cost £10 per year for those in employment. Under-fives will continue to travel for free.

New family tickets will also be available for £14.

First Bus is drawing up the new fares for bus routes across the country.

The new fares will come into effect on July 6.