BUS ticket prices have jumped by 25% in the last five years, according to the latest statistics.

Figures from Transport Scotland show the rise in fares, and the increased cost of running buses.

Last week the Evening Times revealed how First, the largest bus operator in Glasgow was planning the biggest shake up of services in more than a decade.

The changes would result in fewer services covering shorter overall distances, but First said it would increase frequency and the aim was to remove duplication and make the network simpler.

Transport Scotland's latest survey shows that while more people are using buses, the distance covered by available services is already being reduced, while fares continue to rise.

Passenger revenue brought in by bus firms increased from £298 million to £340m in the last five years, up 25%, but the figures show rising costs to bus firms of 27%.

The number of journeys made by passengers increased but the overall distance covered by buses fell.

The most common reason for using the bus was commuting, but still just over a quarter of journeys were for work.

People said they didn't take the bus to work because it took too long and there were a lack of available direct routes.

The survey finding stated: "The number of bus journeys made in Scotland rose in the last year, but the total distance covered by buses dropped for the fourth year running.

"Passenger bus journeys on local services in Scotland increased by 2% from the previous year. However, the number remains around 10% lower than a recent peak in 2008

"This contrasts with figures for Great Britain as a whole, which show a modest increase of around 1% since 2008.

"The total number of vehicle kilometres made by Scottish local bus services fell for the fourth year running following the peak in 2008."

One third of all bus trips were paid for under the concessionary travel scheme, with 1.3m people using free bus passes

The scheme cost the Scottish Government £181m in payments to bus operators, up 4% above inflation since the scheme was introduced in 2006/07.

The cost of using the bus has increased more than the cost of driving a car, according to the figures, with car users seeing costs rising by 27% over five years and bus travel increasing by 32%.

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk