Thousands of travellers in Harrogate will find their daily commute cheaper as a new £2 cap on single bus journeys is introduced from January to March 2023 backed by up to £60 million to ensure affordable transport across the country.
The move will help passengers with travel costs for work, education, shopping and medical treatments over the winter months while they are facing pressures from the rising cost of living.
The average single fare for a 3-mile journey is estimated at over £2.80, meaning that the new fare will save passengers almost 30 per cent of the price every time they travel.
Local MP Andrew Jones said: “Our local bus services are great. The services are valued and well-used and this new boost should reward current bus commuters but also introduce new people to the buses.
“In Harrogate and Knaresborough buses are also getting increasingly environmentally-friendly with huge investment in low emission vehicles and electric buses over the last decade.”
“That is why I am encouraging more people to give the bus a try and leave their cars at home”.
The new initiative follows the allocation of more than £2 billion to support bus services in England through the pandemic and a commitment to fund improved services, new bus priority measures and new electric or hydrogen buses as part of Bus Back Better, the ambitious national bus strategy, published last year.
During the pandemic bus passenger numbers declined significantly, along with other public transport users, and figures show usage has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
However, ensuring the public can access affordable bus fares will encourage more people to choose buses for local journeys, which helps to reduce carbon emissions as the country moves towards Net Zero targets. The scheme is estimated to take at least 2 million car journeys off the roads, cutting congestion and pollution for everyone.
Introducing the fare cap by January enables the Government to work with operators and local authorities to implement a scheme that most effectively delivers real savings for passengers. Operators representing around 90 per cent of the bus market have expressed support for the scheme and we hope that all bus operators will participate.
The fare cap builds on lots of offers around the country in areas with high bus demand, which include daily, weekly and monthly ticket options and promotional offers. Single fares which are already lower than £2 will not be affected by the cap.