Dismay grows over fuel rises

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MOTORISTS in Scarborough are feeling the pinch as forecourt prices reach record highs.

And it’s not just drivers feeling the blow as soaring fuel prices are pushing up bus fares in the town.

After a month of misery in the snow, drivers are now struggling to stay on the roads once again, though this time due to the cost.

Shortly before Christmas petrol reached 123p per litre, up 14 per cent on the same period last year, while diesel reached 127p a litre.

Since then prices have rocketed further following an increase in fuel duty of 0.76p a litre and 2.5 per cent VAT increase, adding around 3.5p a litre.

Experts predict things will only get worse as the year progresses with a 1p government fuel tax hike scheduled for April and global demand driving up the cost of fuel.

The expense is not just affecting those at the forecourts as Scarborough’s bus operator is putting fares up this Saturday as a result of pump prices.

Peter Shipp, chief executive of East Yorkshire Motor Services, said: “We really do regret having to increase fares

fares rgret having to increase fares now but we are left with no choice mainly because the cost of the fuel we use has gone up so much in the last few months and the governments’ fuel duty increases have simply added to the burden.”

“East Yorkshire buses use over 6 million litres of fuel a year so every penny rise in the price adds over £1,000 each week to our costs. Since last January the price has risen by 14p a litre, including the latest duty increase, so we are now faced with more than £14,000 extra costs every week.

“Add to that the big cut we are facing in the next few months in the payments we get for concessionary fares especially in rural areas, plus everything else governments and the EU have thrown at bus operators in the last few years, and it begins to feel a lot more like war on the bus passenger rather than the war on the motorist.”

Transport services across Scarborough have been affected by the recent price hikes, including charity Dial A Ride, which provides transport for people who struggle to get out and about.

Dial A Ride manager Julie Banks said: “Our fuel bill last month alone cost almost £4,000 which is extremely high for what we do.

“Due to the increase in cost we are having to have a trust meeting to decide whether we need to introduce fare increases on a six monthly basis rather than our current yearly increases.

“We appreciate though at our users pensions and incomes aren’t going up, and we have to try and be as fair to them as we can. It is a difficult balancing act.”

Fuel prices have been affecting a range of business particularly those in haulage and logistics, with some fleet’s across the country refusing work as they claim diesel costs outweigh the financial benefits of working.

Linda McLaughlin, director of Scarborough based TEF Transport, said; “Fuel prices are going to cause problems as it will have a knock on effect.

“It doesn’t affect us directly as for our big contracts with have a fuel surcharge. However as pass on the cost to our customers they will undoubtedly pass the cost on to their customers and somewhere along the line someone will be hit.

“We are lucky we are a big enough company to cope but this will be very challenging for smaller courier and haulage firms, many of which have already had to close locally over the years because of growing costs.”