Offer to Continue on Over 5,000 Routes Until October 2023
Millions of people in England outside London will continue to enjoy affordable bus travel as the government extends the ‘Get Around for £2’ scheme for another four months.
The scheme, which offers a £2 fare cap on single bus tickets, was previously scheduled to end on June 30 but will now run until October 31, 2023. This extension aims to support households with the rising cost of living while stimulating economic growth.
Fare Cap to Remain at £2.50 from November 2023 to Aid Cost of Living
Starting from November 1, 2023, the fare cap will continue at £2.50 for an additional year until November 2024. This sustained fare cap is made possible by a £200 million government funding allocation, allowing people to save money on their daily travel while contributing to the growth of the economy.
Wide Coverage and Benefits for Passengers
Under the extended scheme, the £2 fare cap will be available on more than 5,000 routes across England, excluding London. This initiative aims to assist people in reaching their workplaces, connecting with loved ones, attending medical appointments, and enjoying affordable trips to popular holiday destinations.
Support for Lower-Income Groups and Increased Bus Usage
The government’s decision to extend the fare cap is a vital component of its help for households initiative, specifically targeting those with lower incomes. Data reveals that individuals with lower incomes take nearly three times as many bus trips as those with higher incomes.
By making bus travel more affordable, the scheme helps level the playing field for individuals from all income brackets.
Since its introduction three months ago, the £2 fare cap has already reduced bus fares outside London by 8%. Research conducted by Transport Focus indicates that 11% of respondents have increased their bus usage due to the fare cap, with 80% agreeing that the scheme has alleviated the burden of living expenses.
Minister’s Statement Highlights Benefits and Summer Opportunities
Transport Secretary Mark Harper expressed his satisfaction with the impact of the fare cap and highlighted the opportunities it provides.
Harper emphasized the scheme’s contribution to affordable holiday trips, commuting, accessing medical services, and maintaining connections with loved ones.
With the extended fare cap, people can continue to ‘Get Around for £2’ throughout the summer, choosing buses as a cost-effective and convenient mode of transportation.
Longer Distances and Savings
The £2 fare cap offers significant savings for passengers traveling longer distances, whether for work or leisure. Examples include a journey from Lancaster to Kendal, which would typically cost £10.90 but now saves passengers £8.90 (81% saving).
Similarly, a trip from Plymouth to Exeter, normally priced at £7.50, will only cost £5.50 (73% saving). Other notable savings can be observed on routes from Newcastle to Middlesbrough (75% saving), Hull to York (76% saving), and Leeds to Scarborough (87% saving).
Revitalizing Bus Usage After the Pandemic
Bus usage dropped significantly during the pandemic, reaching as low as 10% of pre-pandemic levels. Although passenger levels have recovered to around 85-90%, the fare cap aims to incentivize people to return to bus travel.
Bus operators, including Go-Ahead and Transdev, have witnessed positive effects since the introduction of the £2 fare cap. Go-Ahead alone has carried over 16 million passengers at the reduced fare since January 1, 2023, while Transdev has experienced an 11% increase in passenger numbers on some routes.
Long-Term Funding and Future Investments
The £200 million allocated to extend the fare cap further complements the government’s efforts to protect vital bus routes and enhance services until 2025.
This funding adds to the already record-breaking £3.5 billion investment in the bus sector since 2020, primarily focused on helping the industry recover from the pandemic.
Furthermore, £5.7 billion has been provided to 8 mayoral-combined authorities in England, supporting integrated and sustainable transport networks over the next five years.
Promoting Sustainable Transport and Net Zero Emissions
The government’s commitment to achieving a zero-emission bus fleet aligns with the National bus strategy.
Since February 2020, approximately 3,400 zero-emission buses have been supported across the UK, with an additional investment of nearly £300 million for up to 1,400 zero-emission buses in England (excluding London). These efforts bring the vision of a net-zero transport network closer to reality.
Praise from Transport Advocates
Norman Baker, representing the Campaign for Better Transport, welcomed the extension of the fare cap, emphasizing its potential to save passengers money and encourage more people to choose bus travel this summer.
Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, assured that bus operators across the country would strive to make affordable bus travel accessible to everyone.
With this extension, the government aims to empower individuals and families with affordable transportation options, supporting them through the challenges of the rising cost of living while boosting economic recovery.