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Government extends £2 bus fare cap for second time to help with cost of living

The Government has extended the £2 bus fare cap for a second time to ensure bus travel remains “accessible and affordable for everyone”.

The cap will remain for bus services outside London until October 31 after which it will increase to £2.50 until November 30 2024 before fares are reviewed, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the Government will invest £200 million to extend the cap and a further £300 million to support bus services until 2025 – £160 million for local transport authorities to improve fares, services and infrastructure, and £140 million for operators to protect essential services across England.

The extension comes as part of the Government’s Help for Households initiative to support the public with the increased cost of living.

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The funding takes the total Government investment for buses to more than £3.5 billion since March 2020, according to the DfT.

The department said the cap will particularly benefit people on lower incomes, “who take nearly three times as many bus trips” than those on higher incomes.

Mr 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.”

Mark Harper
Transport Secretary Mark Harper (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the “vital role” buses play and the importance of keeping them as affordable modes of transport.

“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,” he said.

“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 on to the bus, ensuring people can get around easily and in an affordable way.”

The DfT said the cap has encouraged more people to use the bus.

It is understood operators such as Go-Ahead have carried more than 16 million passengers at £2 since the scheme began on January 1.

Bus operators continuing the fare cap have yet to be confirmed.