To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support significant reductions in bus fares in locations where (1) elasticities of demand are likely to be high, and (2) costs to government are low, to help restore patronage to buses and support wider reductions in traffic congestion.
Evidence suggests that where people’s travel is more discretionary or where people have alternative travel options, passenger demand tends to be more price sensitive. Some operators run fares promotions to benefit from these elasticities at off peak times or when there is more spare capacity on buses. The Government has piloted initiatives to reduce fares in places such as in Cornwall, to help us understand how cutting prices effects patronage.
The Government has also provided over £2.5 billion in new funding to support improvements to bus services and are on track to meet the commitment of £3 billion new funding invested in buses in this parliament. This includes £1.1 billion in new funding for bus transformation deals to deliver London-style fares, infrastructure, and service improvements.
In addition, the Government spends over £200m every year through the Bus Service Operators Grant to keep fares down and maintain an extensive local transport network. A further £42m is provided annually through this grant directly to Local Transport Authorities to subsidise socially necessary bus services