£2 bus tickets – fare cap scheme extended to 31 October

The £2 bus fare cap across England has now been extended until 31 October – here’s what you need to know

People sitting on the upper deck of a London city bus
(Image credit: Getty images)

The government’s £2 bus fare scheme in England has been extended for a second time and will now run until 31 October. However even once this cut price deal ends - you’ll still be able to get discounted bus tickets with fares capped at £2.50 from November for a whole year.

The £2 bus ticket cap applies to over 130 bus and coach operators outside of London and was introduced to help people during the cost of living crisis

Operators including Arriva, Stagecoach and First Group are all taking part in the scheme, which the government is investing £500 million into - with £300 million to protect bus services into 2025 and £200 million to cover the fare cap extension.

The aim of the scheme has been to get more of us back on the buses,  as currently bus passenger numbers are around 85-90% compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the government was extending the scheme as bus travel is, "the most popular form of public transport".   And Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "By extending the £2 fare cap, we're making sure bus travel remains accessible and affordable for everyone, while helping to ease cost of living pressures."

The average single fare costs around £2.80 but in rural areas, it can cost as much as a hefty £5, meaning commuters could save around a third on a single journey. Not only will this help cut household spending, but the scheme aims to reduce emissions and congestion by taking an estimated two million cars off the road.

The scheme started on 1 January and was initially set to run to 31 March 2023, but has been extended twice - the first time until 30 June and now to 31 October.

Where is the £2 bus scheme running?

Over 130 bus and coach operators across England are taking part in this scheme so there's a long list of towns and cities outside London, that are taking part – ranging from Dorchester to Durham and from Brighton to Burnley. 

Stagecoach has stressed that £2 tickets are available on most of its routes across England. There are some exclusions to services, for example, dedicated school services and note that this £2 scheme does not apply in London.  

Some routes where you can make good savings are:

  • The X10 route between Newcastle and Middlesborough (usually costs £8)
  • The Regency Route between Brighton and Tunbridge Wells (usually costs £6.20)

Exclusions to the bus fare cap scheme

London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire buses already have a long-term fare-capping scheme in place and have already introduced a price cap on single tickets.

Some bus operators have chosen not to take part in this scheme. You can find a list of all the bus operators taking part and routes included on the government website so it’s worth checking before you travel to see if your local bus company is part of the scheme. 

Tips on using the £2 bus fare offer

Bus company Stagecoach has shared a few tips on how best to make use of the £2 offer. 

  • Plan your journey: make sure you know what bus numbers you can get on 
  • When you get on the bus, make sure you ask for a single ticket to be eligible for the £2 ticket
  • You can pay for a bus ticket by cash, card or Apple/ Google Pay
  • And remember that if you live in England and Wales you can apply for a free bus pass once you reach state pension age

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Vaishali Varu
Staff Writer

Vaishali graduated in journalism from Leeds University. She has gained experience writing local stories around Leeds and Leicester, which includes writing for a university publication and Leicester Mercury. 

She has also done some marketing and copywriting for businesses.

When she is not writing about personal finance, Vaishali likes to travel and she's a foodie.