Tories pledge to extend £2 cap on bus fares

Tories pledge to extend £2 cap on bus fares

The document commits to maintaining the scheme for the entirety of the next Parliament.

It stated this would benefit “young people and low-income households”, and would be funded by “reform of the railway which will save up to £1.5 billion annually”.

The cap, first introduced in January 2023, is currently due to end on December 31.

Graham Vidler, chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), a trade association representing the bus and coach sector, said: “It is good to see the Conservative Party recognising the importance of buses by committing to continue fully funded support for bus fares if they win the next election.

“But while they reaffirm a commitment to support bus services across the North and Midlands – with funding reallocated from HS2 – today’s manifesto announcement is a missed opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to grow services across the entire country.”

The Tories also promised to give English councils outside London the power to ban pavement parking, in response to “feedback from older and disabled people”.

But the manifesto stated this would only apply to local authorities which “engage with businesses and residents to ensure they are not adversely affected”.

London is the only area in England where pavement parking is banned.

A Department for Transport consultation on giving councils in the rest of the country the power to prohibit pavement parking ended in November 2020, but no further announcement on the issue was made.

The Conservatives also committed to introduce a Rail Reform Bill in the first King’s Speech after the election.

As well as legislation to create a new public sector body Great British Railways (GBR) in the Bill, the Tories will also “look to include measures to reform outdated working practices in the rail industry”, according to the document.

The establishment of GBR to overhaul Britain’s railways was first proposed in May 2021 but its introduction has been delayed, with the Government initially citing the need to prioritise legislation related to the energy crisis.

Government efforts to end train operators’ reliance on drivers volunteering to work on rest days to run timetabled services at weekends has been cited as a key factor in the long-running industrial action by members of drivers’ union Aslef.

The manifesto also committed to “complete HS2 between London Euston and the West Midlands”.

Old Oak Common in the west London suburbs will initially be used as the high-speed railway’s terminus in the capital.

It was announced in October last year that the Government is relying on a substantial proportion of the cost of extending HS2 to Euston being met by private funds.

Under measures announced last week, the Tories’ manifesto committed to using a Backing Drivers Bill to reverse the expansion of London’s ultra low emission zone, ban blanket 20mph speed limits, and rule out schemes which charge drivers based on their mileage.

The document also featured a pledge to bring forward some of its previously-announced £8.3 billion to tackle potholes in England.

AA chief executive Jakob Pfaudler said: “Potholes are the number one issue for drivers. The AA and our Pothole Partnership had called for road maintenance funding to be brought forward due to the current crisis and we are pleased this has been recognised in the manifesto.”

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said he is “surprised that pay-per-mile road pricing would be ruled out so definitively”.

He went on: “With fuel duty revenue already declining and set to fall even further as more electric vehicles come on to the road, a replacement form of taxation will have to be introduced to avoid losing billions.”

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