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£2 bus fare cap extended for now but will rise this winter

Rebecca Goodman
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Rebecca Goodman

The £2 cap on bus fares across England will be extended until 31 October before being hiked to £2.50.

The £2 bus fare cap scheme – first introduced in January this year – caps the price of single bus journeys across England at £2.

It was initially only meant to last three months but was extended by the Government to June. Now it has been extended again until 31 October to help passengers with the cost of living.

However, as part of the £200m funding for the ‘Get Around for £2’ scheme operating outside of London, the Government confirmed after 31 October, it will be capped at £2.50 until 30 November 2024.

The Government said the move to lift the cap ties in with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates that inflation will be halved by the end of this year.

“Capping fares at £2.50 until November 2024 will create longer-term certainty for bus users over the next year,” the Department for Transport said.

A review of bus fares and the effectiveness of the scheme will be undertaken ahead of November 2024.

It added that a further £300m funding has been allocated to protect vital routes and improve services until 2025 “that people rely on for work, education, medical appointments and shopping”.

Bus fare cap savings

Some of the biggest savings for passengers include an 86% reduction in price for a bus journey between Lancaster to Kendal, which previously would have cost £14.50, and a 82% reduction in a single journey from Plymouth to Exeter, costing £11.20 without the cap.

It applies to the majority of routes outside of London and is aimed at helping people with the cost-of-living crisis, especially those on lower incomes who take nearly three times as many bus trips than those earning more money.

It includes 130 bus operators across the country but doesn’t run in London, Manchester, Liverpool, West Yorkshire where there are alternative schemes in place.

Affordable bus travel for everyone

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.”

Graham Vidler, chief executive officer of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “We welcome this two-year funding settlement. It shows a recognition of the value of buses to the economy and to local communities. It will enable bus operators and local authorities to plan, promote and grow services with greater confidence.”

However, he added: “The combination of the funding settlement and the £2 fare cap extension will not save every service in every part of the country. Operators and local authorities will now work together to study the detail of the Government’s proposals and ensure that the funding is used to safeguard the best possible network for local passengers.”