Bus fares: plan to cap ticket prices at £2 per journey

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The Transport Secretary has announced a new plan to support the cost of public transport in England

Bus fares could be capped at £2 each way across England, according to new proposals from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

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The Cabinet minister said the measure would offer “tangible help” to the most vulnerable in the face of rising energy prices.

He wants the cap to go into effect this fall and run for 12 months.

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Bus tickets in London are a flat rate of £1.65, but passengers using other locations in England are charged up to £5.

Bus fares in England to be capped at £2 per journey (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

What did Grant Shapps say about bus fares?

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Outlining his plan in an article in the Daily TelegraphMr Shapps explained that buses are “disproportionately used by people on lower incomes”.

He wrote: “I propose that we set a £2 fare cap on every bus journey in England outside of London this autumn, which will last for 12 months.

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“This would bring some certainty to an unpredictable economic landscape, a spending ceiling that unlike energy bills cannot be exceeded.

“A simple measure that will provide much-needed security well into 2023.

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“Too expensive? Well, a one-year cap would cost taxpayers around £260m, a sum well below what is being proposed to cushion future energy price hikes.”

When will the cap be introduced?

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The measure is not expected to become government policy before the end of Boris Johnson’s term in office, but could be considered by his successor Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak.

Paul Tuohy, chief executive of advocacy group Campaign for Better Transport, welcomed the proposal but warned that passengers would not benefit if their bus service was suspended.

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He said: “Bus fares have risen by more than five times the current rate of inflation over the past decade – an unsustainable surge that has left many households struggling to afford to travel.

“We have called for more to be done to cover public transport costs and we are glad the government is listening.

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“While this cap will be welcome news for bus passengers, hundreds of bus routes are still at risk of closure as of October, so if left unaddressed many people may find they no longer have a bus to catch the 2- to use the pound tariff.”

Four Labor mayors, representing areas across northern England, have warned operators plan to scrap hundreds of routes unless government funds, introduced to keep services running during the pandemic, are met continued after the end of the current package in early October.

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