A Government-funded £2 bus fare capping initiative has been welcomed in Staffordshire.
The short-term initiative will run from 1 January to 31 March, with several local companies taking part.
Operators that have chosen to participate in the scheme include Arriva Midlands, First Potteries, D&G, Chaserider, Select, National Express, Taxico and Trent Barton.
Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport David Williams said: “Bus services not only get people to and from work and the classroom, but support town centre retail and leisure businesses and help reduce carbon emissions by leaving the car at home.
“Around 95 per cent of bus services in Staffordshire are entirely commercial and many of these have been running at a loss for some time since the pandemic.
“Although the county council doesn’t run buses we have been putting funding in to support operators while they attract passengers back and anything which adds to our support is a good thing.”
In the autumn the county council announced an additional £750,000 of targeted support for specific routes on top of the £8 million spent in the sector annually by the authority, not including home to school transport.
Despite not delivering bus services, the authority does work closely with operators, other councils and communities to promote a sustainable transport network wherever possible.
In recent years threatened commercial routes have been saved by using money contributed by housing developers to improve community facilities and by moving around 2,000 pupils entitled to Home to School transport from bespoke buses to public services.
David added: “Current support from the Government ends in March, while our temporary support continues until the autumn, and if people value their local services we should encourage them to be used now or they may disappear in future.”
The Government has ploughed £60 million into the fares capping scheme. As well as aiming to get more commuters on buses the scheme will seek to take an estimated 2 million cars off roads, reducing congestion and emissions.