THE SCHEME to cap single bus fares for £2 outside London is set to be extended for another three months.
The Get Around for £2 programme was launched at the start of the year and was initially due to run for three months.
But now the government has confirmed, backed by up to £75million, the scheme will run for another term, meaning bus users will be able to take advantage of the cheaper fares until June 30.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the move would protect vital bus services people relied on for work, education, medical appointments and shopping.
With the average single fare being £2.80, the scheme is aimed at saving passengers money and encouraging more people back on the bus.
The bus operators which will continue to run the £2 fare cap scheme will be confirmed in due course.
During the pandemic, because of people working from home and furlough schemes, bus usage dropped as low as 10 per cent, compared to what it was prior to Covid.
Bus use us still around 85 to 90 per cent of pre-Covid levels, posing ongoing challenges for bus operators.
The Government is working closely with operators on those challenges to continue to work on delivering the National Bus Strategy.
The strategy, published in 2021, asked all English Local Transport Authorities outside London to publish their Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) setting out local visions for the step-change in bus services that was needed, driven by what passengers and would-be passengers want.
The Government’s existing £60million investment to cap single bus fares has already shown early signs of increased bus use. In an independent survey of 1,000 people from passenger watchdog Transport Focus, seven per cent of people said they were using the bus more.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I want to make bus travel affordable for all – that’s why we’re continuing to cap fares at £2 and protecting local routes, ensuring we have a modern and efficient network that’s accessible for everyone.”
He added getting more people onto reliable and affordable buses would strengthen communities and help grow the economy by connecting people to jobs, driving pensioners to see friends and family and helping people attend medical appointments or access education.
The recovery grant support comes in addition to the pledged £3billion worth of Government investment in bus services by 2025, including over £1billion to improve fares, services and infrastructure.