More government bus funding announced
A government investment of £500 million has been made to extend the current £2 fare cap scheme across England (excluding London). The scheme has been extended until 31 October and then £2.50 until November 2024.
The announcement comes as Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, confirms £300 million to protect what the government describe as vital routes and improve services until 2025 that people rely on for work, education, medical appointments and shopping.
The government is providing 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 is due to review their effectiveness and future bus fares.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (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, according to the government. The fare cap will be reviewed ahead of November 2024.
The move is part of the government’s Help for Households initiative to support everyone through the increased cost of living.
The fare cap aims to encourage people back on the bus, which can help reduce congestion and emissions.
“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” – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
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.”
“Taking the bus is the most popular form of public transport and millions of people rely on these vital services every day” – Transport Secretary, Mark Harper
Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said: “Taking the bus is the most popular form of public transport and millions of people rely on these vital services every day.
“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.”
“However, the combination of the funding settlement and the £2 fare cap extension will not save every service in every part of the country” – Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
Graham Vidler, CEO 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, 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.”
The additional funding announced today will be shared between local transport authorities and bus operators. The new funding models are intended to protect vulnerable routes while allowing local authorities and operators to determine the routes that work for local areas.
As part of the £300 million to support services until 2025, £160 million will be provided to local transport authorities to improve fares, services and infrastructure while £140 million will go directly to operators to help protect essential services across England.