The £2 cap placed on the price of bus tickets has been extended until the end of October.
The programme was originally instituted beginning this year, with an initial trial period set to three months, ending on March 31st. Implementation of the cap was then extended until the end of June. The £2 has now been extended once again so bus tickets are expected to remain at a standard price at least until the end of the year.
The £2 cap covers any single journey on an Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel or Carousel buses vehicle. A government report on the early progress of the £2 cap shows a positive financial impact: “[E]arly evidence suggests a potentially positive impact on patronage and the cost of living”.
There is no set maximum distance that can be travelled with a single £2 ticket provided that the passenger does not change buses. For instance, a £2 ticket can and has taken passengers as far as 26 miles. However, the cap only covers local buses and school day services are generally not included.
Rishi Sunak has increased funding for the scheme by an additional £500 million. The primary aim of the bus cap is to help the British public with the ongoing cost of living crisis by making bus travel more affordable and consistent in price.
As transport secretary, in 2022, Grant Shapps spearheaded the ‘Bus Back Better’ campaign, which intends to help bus companies recover after the pandemic. The origins of the £2 bus cap can be traced back to Shapp’s campaign. The government hopes that the stability brought about by the cap on the prices of bus tickets will promote the growth of bus companies and increase the number of customers travelling by bus.
The Oxford Bus Company also upgraded and increased the number of coaches heading towards Heathrow Airport as a means of meeting increased demand. From May 28th, 12 extra buses will leave Oxford to Heathrow Airport. They ordered 104 more electric buses, set to be in use by the end of 2023.
According to the Oxford Bus Company, the cap has been welcomed by bus operators as well as passengers. Director of Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel, Luke Marion has issued a statement: “The extension of the £2 fare capping scheme is excellent news for passengers and the bus industry. Not only is it helping passengers continue to get out and about, it is also helping operators maintain services.”
Marion also hopes for the introduction of long-term funding and infrastructure for the £2 limit on ticket prices.