Government extends £2 cap on bus fares until Autumn, but critics worry more bus services will be slashed

17 May 2023, 10:57

The bus fare cap is to be extended until the end of October.
The bus fare cap is to be extended until the end of October. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The government has announced it will extend the bus fare cap scheme beyond June, when it was supposed to end, so fares will stay at £2 until the end of October this year.

First introduced as a temporary measure last year, the government has now announced an extension to the bus fare cap to help with the cost of living and ensure stability in the sector.

From November the limit will then rise to £2.50 which will stay in place for the following 12 months, when it will be reviewed in 2024 ahead of the next general election.

It will cost the Exchequer an extra £200m, and Transport Secretary Mark Harper has pledged £300m to “protect viral routes and improve services”.

Without the cap, the average single bus fare would otherwise be £2.80 for adults.

But Labour has criticised the government, as the party says it “risks more vital services being slashed” following a “near-record numbers of buses” were axed last year.

Data suggests about 1,000 routes have already stopped in the last year.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

The fare cap will rise to £2.50 from November.
The fare cap will rise to £2.50 from November. Picture: Alamy

A full list of the routes that will benefit from the cap extension can be found on the government website.

London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire will not be included in the scheme, as they already have capped fares in place on their bus services.

Despite the sums promised by the government, a recent Confederation of Passenger Transport report said that £390m would be needed over the next 18 months to keep the transport services the same – £90m more than the £300m promised.

But the government maintains the funds “will create longer-term certainty for bus users over the next year”.

It also added the funds will be “shared between local transport authorities and bus operators”.

The government says it has spent £2bn on the bus industry since pandemic.

Read more: 'Once-in-a-generation' rental reforms unveiled by government include ban on no-fault evictions and right to request pets

Read more: Suella Braverman's immigration plans cause rift in Cabinet as just one proposal gets green light

The bus fare cap will be extended for an additional four months.
The bus fare cap will be extended for an additional four months. Picture: Alamy

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."

But Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Louise Haigh, said: “The Conservatives need to come clean - this announcement risks more vital services being slashed, while communities are denied any say whatsoever.

"With a near-record number of buses axed last year, it's clear the Tories' broken system is failing millions, and they have no plan to fix it.

"Labour will launch the biggest reform of buses in a generation, ending the Tories' broken system, and handing power and control of routes, fares and services back to the communities who depend on them."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Angela Rayner

Ministers pledge to give more powers to local areas, in 'devolution revolution'

Starmer has launched a defence review

Keir Starmer launches review of armed forces as he warns of 'dangerous and volatile world'

Graziano di Prima

Strictly Come Dancing pro Graziano Di Prima 'flees the country' after being fired following claims of misconduct

Joe Biden has admitted that calling for Democrats to put Trump in a 'bullseye' was a mistake

Joe Biden admits it was a 'mistake' to urge Democrats to 'put Donald Trump in a bullseye' after assassination attempt

Jay Slater's mother Debbie Duncan is said to be 'demanding answers'

Jay Slater's mother 'demands answers' after human remains found just yards from teen's last known location

Trump has selected Vance as his running mate

Who is JD Vance, Donald Trump's pick for vice-president?

Donald Trump has selected JD Vance (right) as his running mate and would-be vice president

Donald Trump chooses senator JD Vance as vice president pick as he is officially nominated as Republican candidate

Ralf Schumacher and David Schumacher at Hockenheimring on April 05, 2022

'I'm 100% behind you': Ralf Schumacher's son congratulates his father after he comes out as gay

David Lammy has called for a ceasefire on a trip to Israel

Foreign Secretary David Lammy reiterates call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire and hostage deal in Gaza

Hamza Alam

East Londoner who 'disguised himself as a librarian' while urging TikTok followers to kill Jewish people jailed for 4 years

The England fan is confident England can bring football home in the next four years.

England fan has ‘no regrets’ over doomed Euro ‘winners’ tattoo

Queen Camilla left in histerics as Jersey cows get frisky during royal visit while bemused King watches on

Queen Camilla left in hysterics as Jersey cows get frisky during royal visit while bemused King watches on

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper during a visit to Lewisham Police Station in south London.

Home Secretary to probe 'disgraceful' election intimidation, as Jo Cox's sister says UK politics 'not in a good place'

An FBI investigation discovered the influencer had forced women to work for her in poor conditions with no pay

Instagram influencer jailed for human trafficking and slavery

People shelter under umbrellas as the rain pounds down last week.

Return of the summer washout: UK braces for flooding and travel chaos as Met Office issues weather warnings

'Nothing will be the same without you': Jay Slater's best friend breaks silence after body discovered in search for teen

'Nothing will be the same without you': Jay Slater's best friend breaks silence after body discovered in search for teen