Hundreds of Midlands bus fares capped at £2 until end of March

Nottingham City Transport are one of over 100 operators taking part in the scheme. Credit: ITV News

Bus operators are offering thousands of people in the Midlands single fare bus travel for £2 until 31 March, to help passengers in the cost of living crisis.

Hundreds of buses are included in the nationwide scheme, which has been given £60 million in government funding.

It hopes to help passengers with travel costs for work, education, shopping and medical treatments during the winter months while they are facing pressures from the rising cost of living.

The scheme, which started on 1 January, will last for three months and includes dozens of operators in cities including Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and Lincoln as well as some rural services.

Passengers are expected to save almost a third of the ticket price per journey, as the average single local bus ticket normally costs £2.80. It can cost as much as £5 in rural areas.

Fares will go back up on 1 April unless bus firms can fund the scheme to carry on.

Research by Campaign For Better Transport has seen bus services cut by a quarter in the last decade.

Alice Ridley, from Campaign For Better Transport, said: "People are definitely struggling with the cost of living. Transport is one of those expensive things that we can't afford so it helps to lower our costs by getting around by bus.

"It's a great thing that is going to help a lot of people. Bus fares are quite expensive and have risen by about 65% in the last decade.

"They have risen far higher than the cost of motoring, the cost of rail fares and of course the cost of wages."

Fares capped at £2 to make buses 'affordable for everyone'. Credit: PA

Campaign For Better Transport expects to see a boost in passenger numbers over the next three months, but hopes to see the scheme "extended indefinitely".

Ms Ridley said: "We think while this is great for three months obviously it will end and people will be asked to start paying the higher fares again, and that might prevent people using the buses as we would like them to after that."

  • Alice Ridley spoke to ITV News Central about the introduction of the £2 single bus fare cap.

She added: "We need more money invested. We also need to see more long-term funding, so that we can plan buses over the long term.

"We need to see more buses out there and this price cap that is going to be in place for the next three months is really important as a first step for getting people out there back on buses, making them more affordable and making sure we have the number of passengers making bus services viable.

"It is only a temporary measure, we'd like to see more long-term funding, we'd like to see more long-term measures so that buses are affordable on the regular and that buses are reliable."

One full double-decker bus can take 75 cars off the road, so the government also believes the scheme will be great for congestion and pollution.

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