PASSENGERS are being encouraged to Get Around for £2 by bus from January to March next year, with bus operators launching a campaign to promote the Government fare cap scheme today, Monday, December 19.
The scheme will help families, commuters and other passengers save money this winter, backed by £60 million Government investment to cap single tickets at £2 from January 1 to March 31, 2023 across England, outside of London.
With the average single local bus ticket costing £2.80, passengers will save almost a third of the ticket price per journey. In some rural areas a single ticket can cost over £5.
The scheme seeks to get more commuters on buses and helps to reduce emissions and congestion by taking an estimated two million cars off the roads.
Today, the Government has confirmed that more than 130 bus operators such as National Express and Stagecoach managing routes from the north to the south of England will charge no more than £2 for their single tickets, helping passengers with travel costs for education, work and medical appointments as they face pressures from the rising cost of living.
Buses Minister Richard Holden said: “Brits love buses. They’re the most popular form of public transport in England, making up half of all journeys. So we’re investing £60 million to cap single bus fares at £2 to help families, students and commuters and get people back on the bus.
“The scheme will also take two million car journeys off the road and it’s fantastic to see so many bus operators signing up. So, if you’re in Carlisle or Weston-super-Mare, Birmingham or Doncaster, make sure you hop on the bus and ‘Get Around for £2’ between January 1 and March 31.”
Bus fares vary across different parts of the country and between bus operators, and the cap is an important step in ensuring passengers across the country are getting a fair deal.
The scheme forms part of the Government’s Help for Households campaign, as the new cap can deliver real savings for those most affected by the rising cost of living.
The bus fare cap will also help the bus industry continue its recovery from the pandemic by encouraging greater bus use.
This initiative builds on the allocation of more than £2 billion to support bus services in England through the pandemic and a commitment to fund improved services, new bus priority measures and new electric or hydrogen buses as part of Bus Back Better, the ambitious national bus strategy, published last year.
Tom Stables, CEO of National Express UK, said: "More people using buses is good for the economy, environment and wider society.
“We know that great value, low fares encourage people to switch to the bus so are proud to join this scheme. And even better, we're also freezing child fares at £1. Bus travel is simple, cheap and easy and there's never been a better time to get onboard."
Elsewhere, a bus fares pilot scheme, backed by £23.5 million of Government funding, launched in Cornwall this April has already seen a significant increase in passenger numbers.
Working alongside the “Any Ticket Any Bus” Campaign, the fares pilot, running over four years, includes a £2.50 day ticket within towns or a £5 day ticket across all of Cornwall, which is valid across different bus operators.
Ensuring the public can access affordable bus fares will encourage more people to choose buses for local journeys, which in turn will help to reduce carbon emissions as the country moves towards the government’s Net Zero targets.
Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport said: “We look forward to welcoming more customers on board when the £2 fare cap in England starts in January, as it complements great value fares already in place that make taking the bus more attractive and environmentally friendly this winter.
“Travelling for £2 on the bus both helps customers facing rising cost challenges and to encourage people to try a new travel option to get to work, education, public services, leisure or see loved ones.”
The Government says it will continue to work closely with bus operators and local authorities and consider future support to help passengers continue accessing reliable and affordable bus services after March.