Shapps pitches £2 bus fare cap as service cuts loom


Transport secretary Grant Shapps has ‘proposed’ a £2 fare cap for bus journeys in England outside London, but there is no sign the plan, which could cost £260m for a year, has Treasury backing.

The transport secretary used an article in the Daily Telegraph to set out the proposal, which would run from October.

He said the proposal was being considered before the resignation of Boris Johnson. However, it has been reported that the Treasury resisted the move. 

With the contest to replace Mr Johnson continuing, official policy announcements have not been possible.

Mr Shapps wrote: ‘Our country’s 30,000 buses provide a lifeline for country communities and an equally vital – and greener – solution for city workers wanting to ditch the car.

‘It’s time to provide some help for regular bus users and bring them some relief in these tough times. The country is facing a huge challenge from fuel poverty; we must not compound that with travel poverty for the worst off.

‘So, I propose that we set a £2 fare cap for every bus journey in England outside London this autumn, lasting 12 months.’

Mr Shapps proposal comes as bus services across the country face cuts with the withdrawal next month of government subsidies that were introduced to compensate for reduced demand during the pandemic.

The Urban Transport Group, which represents large transport authorities, said last week that while the scale of cutbacks proposed by operators varies between areas, for South Yorkshire they are ‘particularly drastic’.

Responding to Mr Shapps’ proposal, Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘Bus fares have risen at more than five times the current rate of inflation in the last decade - an unsustainable increase which has left many households struggling to afford to get around.

‘We’ve been calling for more to be done to help with the cost of public transport, so we are glad the Government is listening. Whilst this cap will be welcome news for bus passengers, hundreds of bus routes are still under threat of closure from October, so unless addressed many people may find that they no longer have a bus to use the £2 fare on.’

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus