From Sunday until the end of March, more than 130 operators outside of London will charge no more than £2 for a single ticket, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).
The cap is supported by £60 million in government funding.
According to the DfT, single fares for a three-mile journey outside of London average around £2.80, but tickets can exceed £5 for long journeys in rural areas.
It is hoped that the cap will assist passengers travelling for education, work, or medical appointments during the current cost-of-living crisis.
Some of the most cost-effective routes include Leeds to Scarborough (£13), Lancaster to Kendall (£12.50), and Plymouth to Exeter (£9.20).
“By saving nearly a third off the average single bus ticket and taking two million cars off the road, the £2 bus fare cap is a fantastic way to start the new year,” Transport Secretary Mark Harper said.
Buses are an important part of our vision for a clean, efficient, and modern transportation network that is affordable to all.
That is why we are investing £60 million to encourage everyone to “Get Around for £2” by taking the bus.
A report released in July by the pressure group Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) detailed how funding constraints have resulted in the abolition of more than a quarter of English bus services in the last decade.
In response to the cap, CBT director of external affairs and former Lib Dem transport minister Norman Baker said, “Affordable bus travel truly is a win-win situation.”
Capping bus fares in this manner will benefit struggling households, reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions, and revitalise dwindling bus services.
“We believe that the £2 limit should be extended indefinitely.”
The Department for Transport made more than £2 billion available to bus operators to keep services running in England during the coronavirus pandemic.
It stated that it will “consider future support” as the current emergency funding agreement expires in March.
Bus minister Richard Holden told the PA news agency that he hopes the fare cap will increase passenger numbers.
“We’ve been putting in an awful lot of help to support buses through Covid and in more recent months coming out of the pandemic,” he said.
However, we need to see an increase in ridership.
“On paid-for fares, we’re back up to around 80-85%, and on concessionary travel, we’re back up to around two-thirds.”
What I really want to do is get people back on buses so that they can become more self-sustaining in the long run, rather than constantly having to put more money into subsidise routes.
“I want to see us get as close to pre-pandemic levels as possible.”
“We look forward to welcoming more customers on board when the £2 fare cap in England begins in January, as it complements the great value fares already in place that make taking the bus more appealing and environmentally friendly this winter,” said Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport.
Travelling for £2 on the bus helps customers face rising cost challenges while also allowing them to try a new mode of transportation to get to work, education, public services, leisure, or see loved ones.”