Empowering the Freelance Economy

Government extends £2 bus fare cap until October

Bus fares set to stay at £2 this summer but set to rise in October/ Photo by Sena Aykut via Pexels
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Millions of passengers across England will continue to ‘Get Around for £2’ and access vital bus services following £500 million in government funding. But prices will go up in October

  • The £2 bus fare has been extended until 31 October to help passengers with cost of living and then £2.50 until November 2024
  • New £300 million government investment will protect bus services into 2025 and keep travel affordable
  • Funding boost will support the bus sector’s long-term recovery, taking total investment for buses to more than £3.5 billion since March 2020

To help people with cost of living pressures and save on everyday travel costs, the government has provided 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 will review their effectiveness and future bus fares.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has confirmed another £300 million in government funding will be earmarked to protect vital bus routes and improve services until 2025 that people rely on for work, education, medical appointments and shopping.

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. 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, and will particularly benefit those on lower incomes who take nearly 3 times as many bus trips than those on higher incomes.

During the pandemic, bus usage dropped as low as 10% of pre-pandemic levels and, while passenger levels have recovered to around 85 to 90%, the fare cap aims to encourage people back on the bus, which can help reduce congestion and emissions.

Who is responsible for bus fares and routes in the UK?

Operators such as Go-Ahead have carried more than 16 million passengers at £2 since 1 January 2023, helping them save on average a third off fares. Bus operators that are continuing the £2 fare cap scheme will be confirmed in due course, said the government in a statement.

While it is the responsibility of bus operators and local transport authorities to ensure an adequate provision of bus routes, the government said it continues to work closely with the sector to support local areas in dealing with changing travel patterns while managing pressures on the taxpayer.

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.

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.

Some of the biggest savings on the longest routes up and down the country based on the fare cap:

JourneyNormal fareAmount saved% saving
Lancaster to Kendal£14.50£12.5086%
Plymouth to Exeter£11.20£9.2082%
Newcastle to Middlesbrough£8.00£6.0075%
Hull to York£8.50£6.5076%
Leeds to Scarborough£15.00£13.0087%

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