Free bus pass: £2 fare cap for those not eligible for benefit

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Across the UK, multiple vulnerable groups are entitled to a free bus pass if they meet certain qualifying criteria. Those not eligible for this freebie benefit have had to deal with inflation-hiked bus fares as of late. However, the Government has announced that bus fares in England are set to be capped at £2 going forward in a boon for travellers.

From January to March 2023, bus operators will set their prices for a single bus ticket at £2 per journey.

Bus fares are different across the UK between bus operators, and can even reach almost £6 for a single journey in rural areas, according to the Government.

This new cap means travellers in those areas could save more than £60 a month if they took four single trips a week.

As it stands, the average single fare for a three-mile journey is estimated at over £2.80.

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This means that the new fare will save passengers almost 30 percent of the price every time they travel.

Last week, Government minister Grant Shapps MP outlined who will benefit from this latest travel concession.

Mr Shapps said: “At a time when many are struggling with the rising cost of living, this is a significant investment that will result in millions of people across England saving on travel costs.

“This investment also makes clear our continued commitment to delivering on the bold vision for bus services set out in ‘Bus Back Better’, the Government’s national bus strategy, and particularly our ambition to make bus services cheaper.

“The introduction of the £2 bus fare cap is a significant step forward to delivering this and continues the government’s track record of providing the largest investment in bus services in a generation, in England outside London.”

It should be noted that this £2 bus fare cap does not apply to bus services in London as travel is a devolved power for the city.

Various organisations and charities have come out in support for the Government’s policy for a £2 bus fare cap.

Dawn Badminton-Capps, the director for Bus Users, said: “The cap on fares being announced today will bring welcome, short-term relief to the millions of people who rely on buses to access education, employment and health services.

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“Buses make a vital contribution to society and Government support is critical in protecting services for the future.”

Paul Tuohy, the chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, added: “This will be very welcome news for the millions of people who rely on the bus to get to work, to the shops, to medical appointments and to connect with friends and family.

“It will also encourage more people to find their nearest bus stop and give the bus a try… where could you go for just £2?”

Alison Edwards, the policy director at the Confederation of Passenger Transport, explained: “Bus fare caps at £2 are an eye-catching initiative which could help attract new passengers onto the bus, particularly at a time when networks are adapting to new travel patterns, and both customers and operators are facing cost of living and business cost challenges.

“We look forward to understanding in detail how the proposed fare cap will work in practice to ensure it supports the long-term sustainability of bus networks, which are vital in connecting communities with jobs, education and skills, as well as friends, family and essential public services.”

Who is eligible for the free bus pass?

Residents in England are able to claim this freebie benefit once they reach the state pension age, which is currently 66.

In comparison, people over the age of 60 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can get the benefit.

Furthermore, those who have a disability, illness or long-term health condition could be entitled to a free bus pass.

People who are considered legally blind, deaf or who are unable to speak can also claim this support.

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