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Bus in Bolton
Photograph: Zhao Zheming / Shutterstock.com

Bus fares across England will soon be capped to help fight the cost-of-living crisis

Outside of London, people can pay up to £5 per journey

Written by
Faima Bakar
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In London, where buses are more frequent, you can expect to pay a flat rate of £1.65 for journeys made within the hour. Outside of the capital, however, people are paying up to £5 for trips as buses are often operated by small private companies (there are no TfL-style organisations). But the people who use buses the most are working-class groups, so in an effort to help them out during the cost-of-living crisis, the government is proposing journey prices being capped at £2. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said this gesture – a taxpayer-funded subsidy worth £260 million – could save people up to £3 for single journeys, and was being considered before Boris Johnson resigned. He said it would help some of the country’s most vulnerable who can’t afford a car and make multiple bus journeys each week. More people are also using buses due to the soaring price of fuel.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Shapps said: ‘The most vulnerable in our society need concrete help in the coming year, measures that make an immediate and tangible difference to daily spending. And a simple way to do this is reduce the burden on those of us who rely on buses to get to work, the shops and the GP. Buses are for all of us, the most ubiquitous form of public transport.’

The policy was set to be introduced in October, when the cap on energy bills is set to rise from £1,971 to £3,600, leaving many families in extremely vulnerable positions. The £2 bus cap is still likely to be considered by the new prime minister when they are announced on September 5. 

Shapps said this new scheme would last for 12 months. The ideas mirrors other transport price cuts in other countries including Ireland and Germany. In England, Labour mayors in Manchester, West Yorkshire and Liverpool are also introducing £2 cap fares, but theirs are set to last for three years.

This scheme will help the lowest-earning individuals in England, as 20 percent of them made at least 75 local bus trips in 2019, according to government data. The £2 price cap will only be applicable to England, barring Scotland and Wales.

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