Government-backed fares initiative has been embraced by more than 130 bus operators and is proving especially popular on some inter-urban routes

Stagecoach promoting the £2 fare cap

Bus users in England have already benefitted from the £2 fare cap to make millions of bus journeys following the launch of the scheme on January 1. Supported by £60m from the government, all adult, concession and child single tickets on eligible routes will be capped at £2 for three months. This is intended to help with rising living costs and encourage greater use of buses.

On January 6, Britain’s biggest bus operator, Stagecoach, announced that over 300,000 bus users had already taken advantage of the new £2 single fares. Large numbers have travelled on its popular 700 ‘Coastliner’ service between Portsmouth and Brighton and its 125 service between Bolton and Preston. Scaled up across all participating operators over two weeks the number of journeys is likely to have exceeded two million.

We are delighted to see that thousands of people are already making the most of this great initiative

Carla Stockton-Jones, UK managing director of Stagecoach, said: “We are delighted to see that thousands of people are already making the most of this great initiative.”

Not all operators were so keen. More than 130 bus operators are participating in the initiative, but Diamond Bus, Diamond East Midlands and Diamond South East were not among them. The Rotala-owned companies “would be left considerably out of pocket and would suffer a huge revenue loss if we took part in the scheme”.

Commenting on Twitter last month in a personal capacity, Shane Grindey, former head of marketing at Blackpool Transport, urged bus operators to make the most of the £2 cap.

“I understand the many challenges of the initiative … But for the first time in a while, an opportunity as an industry to positively position the bus front and centre of people’s minds across national and regional media.”

This story appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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