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The Somerset Guardian, 7th February 2024

Easing the cost of living is one of the Government’s most pressing priorities. This is especially true as some people are even struggling to get to work, which locally is being compounded by the unpopular, pricey Labour ULEZ scheme and the debacle with the buses.

This week, I am pleased to pass on the news that the Government will continue to honour its National Bus Fare Cap (NBFC), also known as the £2 fare cap. The Government introduced the £2 cap on single bus fares in England outside London from 1st January 2023 to help passengers save money and to drive up usage. It then announced in October 2023 that the £2 scheme will continue until the end of 2024, backed by taxpayers’ spending of almost £600 million.

The Department of Transport has recently written to all bus operators that could be eligible to participate in the scheme. In North East Somerset, the relevant operator is Arleen Coach Hire and Services Ltd, which I hope will be able to take advantage of the scheme so that costs can be kept down for local passengers.

The Department’s statistics show that following the introduction of the £2 fare cap, bus fares in England outside London dropped by 6.2% between September 2022 and September 2023, which has had a positive impact on the cost of living. The cap has also been popular with bus passengers in communities across England, particularly in rural and nonmetropolitan areas, where statistics show the overall price of bus fares between September 2022 and September 2023 dropped by almost 11%.

I am keen to ensure that all travellers are able to enjoy the many benefits offered by the fare cap as the Government seeks to deliver better bus services for passengers in spite of the mess being caused by WECA and B&NES.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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