Capping £2 bus fares across England to save passengers money

  • people could save more than £3 per single bus ticket to cope with cost of living pressures
  • Capping bus fares at £2 on almost all journeys across England, saving users 30% off the average fare, helping millions pay for travel costs for work and essential journeys
  • the government is providing up to £60m over 3 months to subsidize operator costs and encourage greener travel for commuters

Millions of people across England will save money thanks to a new £2 cap on single bus journeys from January to March 2023, backed by up to £60million to ensure affordable transport across the country.

The Transport Secretary announced today (3rd September 2022) that the Government will provide up to £60million from January to March next year, to help bus operators cap single adult fares at £2 each way.

The move will help passengers pay for travel costs for work, education, shopping and medical treatment during the winter months as they face the pressures of rising living costs.

Bus fares vary between parts of the country and between bus operators, and can even reach almost £6 for a single journey in rural areas. The new cap means passengers in these areas could save over £60 a month if they made 4 single journeys a week.

The average one-way fare for a 3-mile journey is estimated to be over £2.80, meaning the new fare will save passengers nearly 30% off the fare each time they travel.

The funding to keep fares low follows the Government’s announcement of £130million last month to protect vital bus routes and services across the country, which low-income people in particular rely on .

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Buses are by far the most widely used form of public transport, so ensuring almost all bus journeys are under £2 will help passengers through the winter months and provide direct support to thousands of households in across the country.

This £60million increase will allow everyone to travel to work, education, shopping and doctor’s appointments affordably.

We know people will feel the pressure of rising costs this winter, so we’ve been working hard this summer to provide concrete, practical help that will reduce day-to-day expenses.

The new initiative follows the allocation of more than £2billion to support bus services in England during the pandemic and a commitment to fund improved services, new bus priority measures and new electric buses or hydrogen as part of Bus Back Better, the ambitious national bus strategy, released last year.

During the pandemic, bus passenger numbers have dropped significantly, along with other public transport users, and figures show usage has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

However, ensuring that the public can access affordable bus fares will encourage more people to choose buses for local journeys, which will help reduce carbon emissions as the country moves closer to Net Zero goals. It is estimated that the program will remove at least 2 million car journeys from the roads, reducing traffic congestion and pollution for everyone.

Introducing the fare cap by January allows the government to work with operators and local authorities to implement a program that most effectively delivers real savings to passengers. Operators representing approximately 90% of the bus market have expressed their support for the program and we hope that all bus operators will participate.

The fare cap is based on numerous offers across the country in areas with high bus demand, which include daily, weekly and monthly ticket options and promotional offers. One-way fares already below £2 will not be affected by the cap.

The government will continue to work closely with bus operators and local authorities and will consider future support to help passengers continue to access reliable and affordable bus services after March.

A flat fare bus pilot scheme, backed by £23.5m government funding, was launched in Cornwall in January and has already seen an indicative 10% increase in passenger numbers. The 4-year ‘Any Ticket Any Bus’ scheme includes a £3 day ticket in towns or a £9 day ticket across Cornwall, valid for different bus operators.

Dawn Badminton-Capps, England Director for Charity Bus Users, said:

The fare cap announced today will bring welcome short-term relief to the millions of people who depend on buses to access education, jobs and health services. Buses make a vital contribution to society and government support is essential to protect services for the future.

Paul Tuohy, Executive Director of Campaign for Better Transport, said:

This will be great news for the millions of people who rely on the bus to get to work, shop, get to medical appointments and communicate with friends and family. It will also encourage more people to find the nearest bus stop and try the bus… where could you go for just £2?

Buses have great potential to reduce traffic and carbon emissions, to connect communities and alleviate loneliness. This £2 fare cap – which we have been pushing for – will help put buses on the path to a bright future.

Alison Edwards, Policy Director at the Confederation of Passenger Transport:

The £2 fare caps are an eye-catching move that could help attract new passengers to the bus, particularly at a time when networks are adapting to new modes of travel, and customers and operators are facing cost of living and business cost challenges.

We look forward to understanding in detail how the proposed fare cap will work in practice to ensure it supports the long-term sustainability of bus networks, which are essential for connecting communities to jobs, education and skills, as well as friends, family and essential people. public services.

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