£2 bus fare cap
The New Year has seen the launch of a discounted fare scheme operated by the Department for Transport (DfT) that’s been designed to help consumers save money, encourage bus patronage and take cars off the road.
More than 130 bus operators in England have already signed up to the £60m Bus Fare Cap Grant (BFCG), which will cap adult single fares at £2 for journeys outside of London, made between 1st January and the end of March, when the scheme will end. In its response, the opposition pointed out that the cities of Manchester, Liverpool and areas of West Yorkshire, all of which have Labour mayors, have already introduced £2 caps as part of longer-term travel discount schemes.
With anticipation that there may be further support for regional bus operators once the Bus Recovery Grant ends on 31st March 2023, Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, told the Transport Select Committee on 7th December that the government was considering its options. He said it “will continue to work closely with bus operators and local authorities (LAs) and consider future support to help passengers continue accessing reliable and affordable bus services after March.”
Imperial Engineering customers, Go-Ahead and Stagecoach, have committed their businesses to the scheme, with the latter also calling for additional pro-bus measures to make bus travel more attractive, such as keeping buses out of congestion in order to speed up journey times.
According to latest official figures, the number of people travelling by bus, the most popular form of public transport in England, has been rising but remains well below pre-Covid levels. At the same time, local bus fares in England rose by 4.2% in the three months to 30th June when compared with the same period last year.
The Campaign for Better Transport, also welcomed the cap but said it should be extended. Its spokesman Norman Baker said: “Capping bus fares will help struggling households, cut traffic congestion and carbon emissions, and inject new life into dwindling bus services. It’s such a win-win that it shouldn’t be restricted to three months, but should be extended indefinitely, for the sake of our pockets, our economy and our environment.”
John Dwight, Sales Director of Imperial Engineering, which supports hundreds of bus and coach operators across the UK with OE parts, commented:
“Any initiative that will help both the consumer and the bus industry navigate the cost of living crisis is to be welcomed.”