Bus Services: Schools

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 23 October 2023.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to help increase the affordability of bus travel for school children.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

In England, the majority of bus services outside London operate on a commercial basis, and decisions about offering reduced or discounted fares for commercial bus services are predominantly for operators to take. Many bus operators currently offer discounted travel cards for younger people. Our most recent set of statistics shows that operators in 70 out of 84 travel concession authority areas in England, outside London, offered some form of discounted travel for young people.

The Department for Transport is investing in the bus sector to deliver the ambitions of the National Bus Strategy to make bus services more reliable and cheaper. We are providing over £1 billion of funding for English Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) outside London to support the delivery of Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs), some of which include the introduction of measures to reduce bus fares for young people. On 4 October, the Prime Minister also announced a further £1 billion for LTAs across the North and the Midlands to deliver their BSIPs. We have also announced a further £160 million of BSIP+ funding until April 2025 for LTAs to protect and enhance bus services, and deliver local fares initiatives.

The Government has also allocated nearly £600 million to introduce a £2 fare cap on single bus fares in England outside London from 1 January 2023 to help passengers save on their regular travel costs. The Prime Minister announced on 4 October that this would be extended to 31 December 2024. The cap is available on over 5,000 routes, and services from participating operators that serve schools, are open to members of the public and run all year round are eligible for inclusion in the scheme.

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