Stagecoach has confirmed it will be participating in the Department for Transport’s £2 fare cap scheme.
Stagecoach will run a three month trial with passengers paying no more than £2 for a single journey as part of the Department for Transport’s new fares initiative.
Stagecoach will run the pilot from January 1 until March 31.
Stagecoach MD Joel Mitchell said: “We already offer some of the lowest ticket prices in the UK, but we hope that this new fare scheme will complement our existing range and help to attract new customers to get out of their cars and try the bus over the winter months.
“The government promotion also reflects the current pressure on the costs of running bus services, which have increased by more than 40% since 2019. We are continuing to work hard to insulate customers from these cost increases as much as possible.
“We are really pleased to be involved in this new initiative by the Department for Transport, which will help so many people at a time where every penny needs to stretch further while at the same time aims to reduce car use and encourage people onto more sustainable public transport.”
The scheme means all adult and child single tickets on eligible routes will be capped at £2, with any single tickets previously cheaper than this remaining the same price.
The scheme has been welcomed by Thanet district councillor Rob Yates and County Councillor and party ember for transport Barry Lewis.
Cllr Lewis said: “I welcome this three-month trial as it is part of Labour at county council policy to lower bus fares to encourage people to use public transport more.
“The benefit of low fares will increase revenue on the buses rather than the previous system of raising prices which discouraged people from using the service.
“I call on KCC to continue this fare cap after March.”
Cllr Yates added: “This is a great government initiative that could save occasional bus users £1 per day. As it stands now residents end up paying £5 for a Thanet Day rider, whereas now they will be able to pay £4 for these two journeys.
“What could be even better, is having a Transport for Kent (TFK) setup, which would be a public company setup to manage public transport across Kent, similar to Transport for London.
“This idea is something which is being promoted and championed by KCC councillor Barry Lewis, who is Labour’s representative on Transport for Kent.”
However, although the cap has been welcomed the question of its use to those who have had their services axed has also been raised.
A number of routes were cut or altered in August. Beacon Road resident Jenny Matterface led a campaign, including the launch of the petition, to show the strength of community upset. With the help of Broadstairs county council member Ros Binks, one route was salvaged with Regent Coaches adding the old 37 route to make a combined service with the 35.
Jenny said: “Setting the cap at £2 for a single fare will be of some help, albeit for a short time, to some residents who don’t have a bus pass but it isn’t clear what happens if you need a return ticket. Will it be such good value?
“For those who have no bus service any longer any in Broadstairs and St. Peter’s it will be of no help whatsoever. It is a shame some of the funds available couldn’t have been used to subsidise one of those routes. What happened to the £134m the government gave to some local authorities but not, it seems, to KCC, to support routes until the end of March 2023?”