What alternative to £2 cap, asks CPT

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The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has published new research examining policy options that might be used to support a sustainable transition away from a £2 fare cap once this ends in December. Guided by objectives to provide cheaper travel for customers, increase bus use, encourage people to switch from cars to buses, and support broader social and economic aims, including levelling-up, its new report, entitled ‘Alternatives to the national fare cap – how can the next government make bus travel more affordable for more people’ presents the findings of a study that considered the pros and cons of various forms of support including a continued fare cap, providing free travel for key groups such as under-22s or job-seekers, and a ‘tax-back’ scheme for regular commuters.

Welcoming participants joining the first of two stakeholder round tables taking place on 13 March, CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler said: “Government investment that improves services and keep fares low generates significant economic, social, and environmental benefits. The £2 single bus fare cap has proved popular, and it has supported many people to take the bus through the ‘cost of living’ crisis. But this short-term measure that’s set a new norm in English bus fares in not without drawbacks. It is also due to end this coming December so policymakers must now consider how to avoid long-term damage to bus use, improve efficiencies and services, and – above all – persuade more people to catch the bus.

“With that in mind CPT commissioned this research to enable a robust and productive discussion about the options to maintain low fares for the long term. Given the importance of bus to so many parts of our society, we hope all key stakeholders and policy makers will read this report closely and join this crucial debate.”