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Why bus fares are set to be capped in the West Midlands

Mayoral candidate Siôn Simon wants to restrict the price of all-day tickets and other pledges in his new election manifesto

West Midlands bus fares will be capped at £4.40 for an all-day ticket for at least year, the region's Labour mayoral candidate has pledged.

As well as the fare freeze, Siôn Simon will also look to simplify fares across the range of public transport, tackle anti-social behaviour and demand buses and trains are clean.

He argues that, despite year-on-year ticket price rises, there has been little improvements in services.

And he is aiming to tackle the problems by taking control of bus service regulation through a franchise system and improving the contactless card fare system.

He is due to announce his public transport policies today and will argue that West Midlands services are comparatively poor and have been held back by London taking too large a slice of public funding over many years.

Mr Simon is one of six candidates battling it out to be the first West Midlands Mayor on May 4.

He said: "For too long, people have been ripped off because politicians in London have taken no interest in our transport here, while travel operators have put their own interests above those of the people using public transport.

"The buses that we use are run by companies. The unwritten deal - struck by government three decades ago - was that the companies are given almost complete freedom to operate on our roads - roads that we pay for - in return for good quality services at reasonable prices.

"But that deal between the companies and the public has been broken. As the attention of politicians in London drift to the issues of their day, not ours, bus companies have been left to their own devices.

"Our buses - unclean, sometimes leaving people feeling unsafe, and always costing more - tell the story of the so-called 'small things' that are actually really big things."

He said the system of 20 different pricing tariffs across public transport was confusing and left passengers feeling "ripped off".

"I have seen bus prices going up and up, year after year," he added.

"Costs have risen, incomes have been squeezed. So let's do something about it - now that we'll finally have a mayor to lead the charge. It's about time."

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