Bus passengers are paying more to travel three miles between Largs and Fairlie than 14 miles between Largs and Greenock.

The stark contrast was laid bare after Stagecoach, which runs the 585 bus service between Largs and Ayr, recently increased ticket prices in Ayrshire for the second year in a row.

The latest increase follows a 15 per cent rise in the cost of travelling with Stagecoach, imposed in March 2023.

The firm says that the money received in fares goes towards the day-to-day running of services as well as investing in improvements such as new electric vehicles and funding new routes.

Under Stagecoach's latest fare scale, a return ticket between Fairlie and Largs costs £5.80 for a journey that lasts nine minutes each way.

Stagecoach says that bus journey would save an average of 296 grams of carbon dioxide compared to driving a car.

A McGill's 'day saver' ticket, which covers the whole of the company's Inverclyde network as well as Largs, costs £5.70.

According to McGill's website, a bus journey from Largs to Greenock would save 3,903 grams of carbon dioxide compared to the same journey by car...the same amount generated by making 1,654 cups of tea.


An unlimited use Stagecoach ticket from Largs to anywhere else in Ayrshire is £7.50.

However, an unlimited use ticket for Stagecoach's 'mid-Ayrshire' zone, which stretches from West Kilbride southwards and covers the rest of mainland Ayrshire, costs £5.

Cheaper still for Largs-Fairlie and Largs-West Kilbride journeys is travelling by train, with a Largs-Fairlie return on ScotRail coming in at £2.70 and a Largs-West Kilbride return £4.50.

North Coast Conservative councillor Todd Ferguson said: "“Pay more, get less, has become a common phrase in modern Scotland. However, the recent price increase for an adult bus ticket between Largs and Fairlie is taking the proverbial.

“We are constantly being lectured to get out of the car and on to public transport, but with these types of increases why would anyone bother to use the bus to travel the three mile journey?

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

“Even considering a whopping price increase by ScotRail recently, it is cheaper to travel by train between Largs and West Kilbride than it is to take the bus. That is bonkers.

“If we are serious about getting people to switch to the bus then we need to look at ticket schemes like the one the UK Government implemented which capped a single bus fare at £2.

"My colleagues at Holyrood have been demanding that the Scottish Government should do the same up here in Scotland.

“That is the kind of progressive, forward thinking initiative we need to establish here in Ayrshire. It is a sensible way to encourage people out of their cars and back onto our buses.” 

Fiona Doherty, managing director for Stagecoach West Scotland, said: “Stagecoach has consistently delivered some of the lowest ticket prices in the country and we are committed to continuing to keep fares as low as possible for our passengers.

“As well as paying for the day to day running of the country’s vital bus networks, ticket costs help us to continue investing in improvements for our passengers and pay for bus workers who have worked hard to keep communities connected and services running during the pandemic.

“We are doing everything possible to absorb these cost increases and to help protect our valued customers at the same time as ensuring our own people receive fair pay increases to help them manage the significant cost-of-living challenges.“

“That means that changing our fares to reflect the current climate is a necessity to ensure we can keep our services running and connecting communities across the country.”

For more information on the new Stagecoach fares in your area, visit stagecoachbus.com/service-updates.