Buses feeling fuel pinch

BUS services along the Coffs Coast are feeling the fuel pinch, with profits being eaten up by contract conditions that restrict them from raising fares, despite the skyrocketing price of fuel.

Nigel Tooth, operations manager of Ryans Bus Service, said regional bus services across NSW all run under a contract that means a bus company cannot increase their service fees above the maximum fee during the contract period, despite the rise in cost of operation.

This means that the rise in the cost of fuel is taken directly out of the pocket of the company, and it's hitting business hard.

"We have 33 buses, and buy between 7000 and 10,000 litres of fuel per month. In the past seven years it's jumped by almost a dollar. Realistically, that's almost $120,000 extra a year," he said.

Sawtell Coaches is in a similar situation, with manager Darren Williams pointing out that almost a quarter of their business expense is fuel.

"We're buying about 22,000 litres a month, and about 11 purchases a year. But that's what it takes to provide the services we offer," he said.

"The difference in price has been between 10 and 15 cents a month. That's a huge difference, but you're committed to your services and you really have no choice but to take the hit."

He said the current contract conditions are a double-edged sword.


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