Thousands of single bus journeys in England to be capped until December 2024 - here's all you need to know
The fare for thousands of single bus journeys in England will be capped at £2 until 31 October 2023, and at £2.50 until 30 November 2024. It could save passengers a third off the cost of a ticket on average, according to the Department for Transport (DfT), which is behind the move.
The £2 fare cap was originally planned to run between January and March 2023, but it was extended until 30 June 2023, and has now been extended again - though it will rise to £2.50 from 1 November 2023. The fare cap will be reviewed again closer to its revised end date next year.
Below we explain all you need to know. You can also see our Cheap train tickets guide for how to cut costs if you're travelling by train, and our Cheap petrol and diesel guide for help cutting costs when travelling by car.
You don't need to do anything to get the reduced price - but not all bus services are taking part
The flat rate cap only applies to single journeys - one trip, on one bus - at any time of day. Return and multi-bus journeys and daily or weekly tickets continue to be charged at their usual price, so check if it may be cheaper to buy single tickets instead. The cap only applies to bus routes, not to coach fares.
Over 5,000 routes in England are capped under the scheme until 30 June 2023. The Government wouldn't confirm if all bus operators that chose to take part between January and June 2023 will continue to take part throughout the extension, but it did say it would confirm operators taking part and their routes "in due course".
The biggest savings can be made on the longest routes; for example, a single bus journey from Lancaster to Kendall normally costs £14.50 - meaning you'll save £12.50 with the fare cap.
Single bus fares in Bath, Bristol, Greater Manchester, London, Merseyside, and West Yorkshire are already capped at no more than £2 a journey through existing ongoing schemes, which aren't part of the current cap.
The bus fare cap only applies to journeys in England
The fare cap is only currently applicable in England.
We asked the devolved governments - Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales - if they were planning a similar scheme. Here's what they told us:
- The Scottish Government said fares in many parts of the country are already below £2 but that it would consider how a cap could potentially work in future. It also provides free bus travel to all children and young people under 22.
- The Welsh Government told us it set out long-term changes to its bus network in a consultation published in 2022. These are designed to put in place a governance system to ensure an "affordable" and "comprehensive" public transport service.
- In Northern Ireland bus fares went up by 7% on average from 6 March. This was their first increase in four years. The Department for Infrastructure said the changes were needed to "maintain and improve" public transport services.