Go-Ahead hits 10 million mark with fare scheme

Go-Ahead has carried ten million passengers at the nationwide promotional fare of £2 since the government began funding a scheme capping the price of bus travel on New Year’s Day.

The biggest seller of discount tickets in the Go-Ahead network is Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus, where more than 2.5 million passengers have travelled at £2.

On certain routes, passenger numbers have jumped significantly. For example, a route in Buckinghamshire operated by Go-Ahead’s Carousel Buses has seen a 130% uplift in passenger numbers since the beginning of the year. Route 102, which runs from Heathrow Airport to High Wycombe via Beaconsfield and Gerrard’s Cross, has proven particularly popular under the scheme.

Martin Dean, Go-Ahead’s Managing Director, Regional Bus, said: “The £2 fare cap is an excellent initiative to promote bus travel, and it is great news that it will continue. This valuable funding will safeguard hundreds of routes which are commercially challenging but important for local people.

“Buses provide vital connections for local communities across the United Kingdom and we’re pleased to be working with the Department for Transport to make them as affordable as possible. A big increase in passenger numbers on services such as Carousel Buses’ route 102 demonstrates how popular this offer is proving to be.”

Participating Go-Ahead bus companies include:

• Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus

• Go South Coast – Bluestar, Morebus, Southern Vectis, Salisbury Reds and Swindon’s Bus Company

• Go South West – Plymouth Citybus, Go Cornwall, Go Devon and Dartline

• The Oxford Bus Company – including Carousel Buses and Thames Travel

• Go East Anglia – Konectbus, Hedingham and Chambers

• East Yorkshire Buses

• Go North East

Go-Ahead is offering passengers the chance to enter a prize competition by submitting a short video of their £2 bus, journey, route or destination, with an Apple iPhone for the winner. Shortlisted entries will be shared on the group’s social media channels.

Case study: passenger numbers take off on airport route

Carousel Buses’ route 102 is an hourly service between Heathrow Airport and the Buckinghamshire towns of High Wycombe, Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross.

Passenger numbers on the route were hit during 2020 and 2021 by the pandemic, during which the section between Uxbridge and Heathrow was temporarily suspended, and by closures to road tunnels in autumn 2022. Following a partnership with Heathrow Airport, funding was gained to re-instate the link to the airport from July 2022 and this helped passenger recovery begin.

The trajectory of recovery has accelerated dramatically since 1 January, when the cost of a single fare for the full journey was reduced from £8 to £2 by the are capping scheme. Within the first eight weeks of the new year, passenger numbers doubled. They are now 130% higher than they were at the end of 2022.

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