The Transport Secretary confirmed £80 million from 1 April to 30 June to protect vital bus services people rely on for work, education, medical appointments and shopping.
The Government has also announced plans to provide up to £75 million so that bus operators can continue to cap single bus fares outside of London at £2 until the end of June, saving passengers money and encouraging more people back on the bus. With the average single local bus ticket costing £2.80, passengers can save almost a third of the ticket price. Bus operators which are continuing the £2 fare cap scheme will be confirmed in due course.
During the pandemic, bus usage dropped as low as 10% of pre-pandemic levels, and the Government has provided unprecedented financial support totalling more than £2 billion since March 2020.
With bus patronage still at around 85-90% of pre-Covid levels, there are a number of ongoing challenges for bus operators. The Government is working closely with the sector on the challenges they face with changing travel patterns since the pandemic and will continue to work on delivering the National Bus Strategy.
The recovery grant support comes in addition to Government investment of £3 billion in bus services by 2025, including over £1 billion to improve fares, services and infrastructure.
In 2021, the Government published the National Bus Strategy, and asked all English Local Transport Authorities outside London to publish their Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) setting out local visions for the step-change in bus services that is needed, driven by what passengers and would-be passengers want.
Since then, over £1 billion has been awarded to 34 counties, city regions and unitary authorities to deliver service improvements, bus priority and ambitious fares initiatives. In addition £5.7 billion investment has been provided to eight mayoral combined authorities in England to support integrated, cross-modal transport networks over the next five years through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement(CRSTS), including supporting bus infrastructure.