BUS passengers will be able to travel for £2 on buses in Devon until at least June 2024, Stagecoach has confirmed but new figures show elderly bus pass holders are not using transport back to pre-Covid levels. 

The bus company has announced it is extending its offer of a maximum fare of £2 for a single bus journey in England. 

But news of the extension came on the same day that a new report concluded the numbers of people taking advantage of concessionary bus travel had seen ‘significant reductions’ since the Covid 19 pandemic.

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport report compares English National Concessionary Travel Journey (ENCTS) and Active Card Data for the calendar years 2019 and 2022.

It shows a 36 per cent reduction in total ENCTS journeys across 18 regions studied, with the total number of journeys falling from 95million in 2019 to 61.2million in 2022. 

This is in spite of the number of active passholders falling by just 2.6 per cent.

Across England, the report found that the average number of journeys per active card had fallen to an average of 48 single journeys per year.

This included a reduction in the number of journeys by elderly passholders of 38 per cent and disabled passholders by 28 per cent.

The age group with the largest reduction in average trips was those over 80 years old, with male passholders making 43per cent fewer journeys per active card, and female passholders making 46 per cent fewer journeys.

The £2 offer, part of the National Bus Fare Cap scheme, has been extended until the end of June 2024, meaning more people can join the 84 million Stagecoach bus passengers who have already taken advantage of the new £2 single fares since being launch in January 2023.

Stagecoach says the £2 offer, part of the Government’s Help for Households campaign, has helped bus customers save money but has also boosted local economies and communities. 

In a Stagecoach survey, 23 per cent of passengers travelling on a £2 single ticket said they were making trips they wouldn’t otherwise have made, showing how public transport supports businesses and local economies. 

A similar proportion of customers reported they had switched some journeys from private vehicles to the bus, taking cars off the road, helping to reduce congestion and improve air quality for everyone. 

Claire Miles, Chief Executive Officer for Stagecoach said: ‘We are delighted to continue our participation in the £2 fare offer until at least the end of June 2024, giving more people the chance to see where the bus can take them.

‘Around 10 million people in England live within walking distance of one of our bus stops, so we’re hoping that people will take the opportunity to get out of their cars and give the bus a try for the bargain price of just £2 for a single ticket.’