The £2 cap on bus fares in England has been extended again until the end of October, the government has announced.

The cap, which applies to more than 130 bus operators outside of London, including all of the Swindon and Wiltshire companies, will then rise in November to £2.50 for 12 months, before prices are reviewed.

The current limit on fares has now been extended twice after warnings hundreds of services could be cut without it.  Its aim is to ease the cost of living pressures on passengers but also to encourage people to use buses.

Bus operators have still not seen the same number of passengers return to using services as before the Covid pandemic, with levels recovering to around 85 to 90%, according to the Department for Transport.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport, which is the trade association for the UK’s bus and coach sector, welcomed the extra funding for the scheme and said it would help operators and councils to “promote and grow services with greater confidence”.

But Graham Vidler, chief executive of the body, warned the funding and cap extension would “not save every service in every part of the country”.

The trade association has repeatedly claimed that up to 15% of services could be scrapped without further funding for the sector. It has said if the government is “really serious” about levelling up, then ministers need to “back our buses for the long term”.

Travel is one of the main costs to come out of household budgets, which have been squeezed in recent months by the rise in fuel, food and energy prices.

Norman Baker, of the Campaign for Better Transport, urged the government to advertise the bus fare cap to attract people who do not usually use buses in order to grow passenger numbers.

“The huge success of the scheme proves that by making public transport more affordable, more people will use it and revenue can be increased,” he added.

Some people have gone viral on social media after travelling up and down the UK using £2 bus tickets.

As well as releasing cash to keep the cap in place, the Department for Transport said it would provide £300m to councils and operators until 2025 to protect routes that passengers rely on for work, education and medical appointments, and to improve infrastructure.

Help your friends travel simpler