Fares up, passenger numbers still down

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Fares have risen, but passenger numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels across the country. RICHARD WALTER

The local bus fares index increased by 4.3% in England outside London between March 2023 and March 2024, latest Government statistics show; with the £2 fare cap for single tickets still in place, the increase reflects changes in price of other fare products such as season tickets. Nationwide, the local bus fares index change between March 2023 and March 2024 was: a 1.2% increase in London; a 3.6% increase in metropolitan areas; a 4.9% increase in non-metropolitan areas; a 10.8% increase in Scotland, and: a 3.8% increase in Wales. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 3.2% over the same 12-month period.

Meanwhile, figures show that bus use remains below pre-pandemic levels. Bus boardings outside of London on 10 June 2024 were 85% of the volume observed on the equivalent day in the third week of January 2020, and 2 percentage points lower compared to the equivalent day in the previous year. In the latest reporting period weekday, figures show that bus usage has been between 76% and 90% of the pre-Covid baseline.

In London, TfL bus boardings on 7 June 2024 were 89% of the equivalent day in 2019.