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  • Writer's pictureNEMM

Government extends £2 bus fare cap

Millions of passengers across England will continue to “Get Around for £2” and access vital bus services thanks to £500 million in Government funding, supporting people with the cost of living and ensuring long-term stability in the sector.

The Transport Secretary Mark Harper today (Wednesday 17 May) confirmed £300 million to protect vital routes and improve services until 2025 that people rely on for work, education, medical appointments and shopping.

To help people with cost of living pressures and save on everyday travel costs, the Government will also provide up to £200 million to continue capping single bus fares at £2 outside London until the end of October 2023 and then at £2.50 until 30 November 2024 – when the Government will review their effectiveness and future bus fares.

The OBR estimates that inflation will be halved by the end of this year, and capping fares at £2.50 until November 2024 will create longer-term certainty for bus users over the next year. The fare cap will be reviewed ahead of November 2024.

The move is an essential part of the Government’s Help for Households initiative to support everyone through the increased cost of living, and will particularly benefit those on lower incomes who take nearly three times as many bus trips than those on higher incomes.

During the pandemic, bus usage dropped as low as 10% of pre-pandemic levels, and while passenger levels have recovered to around 85 to 90%, the fare cap aims to encourage people back on the bus which can help reduce congestion and emissions.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "By extending the £2 fare cap, we’re making sure bus travel remains accessible and affordable for everyone, while helping to ease cost of living pressures. Buses connect our communities and play a vital role in growing the economy; they transport people to work, take our kids to school and make sure patients can get to doctors’ appointments.

“That’s why we’re determined to protect local routes and encourage more people onto the bus, ensuring people can get around easily and in an affordable way.”

The £2 bus fare scheme has been extended until 31 October to help passengers with cost of living and then £2.50 until November 2024. Photo: NEMM

Transport Secretary Mark Harper added: "“Taking the bus is the most popular form of public transport and millions of people rely on these vital services everyday.

“That’s why we’re investing half a billion pounds to help people save money amid cost of living pressures and continue to level up transport in all parts of the country, doing our bit to help halve inflation and grow the economy.”

While initially introduced only as a temporary measure, The Government are extending the £2 fare cap for the second time to continue helping people save money on travel. Since it started on 1 January this year, the £2 fare has encouraged more people to use the bus.

The additional funding announced today will be shared between local transport authorities and bus operators to protect and improve routes across England and demonstrates our commitment to returning bus sector to a long-term sustainable financial footing. The new funding models will protect vulnerable routes, while allowing local authorities and operators to determine the routes that work for local areas.

This builds on over three years’ worth of Government support totalling over £2 billion to help the sector recover from the pandemic, and more than £1 billion to support local authorities deliver their long-term local plans to improve services.

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