• Since 2015, bus fares have increased by 47%, compared with increases of between 6% and 13% for other transport components of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and 10% for overall CPI inflation.

This chart shows the percentage change in cost since 2015 of public transport fares (railway, bus and coach, and underground and tram) and private motoring (purchase of vehicle and operation of transport equipment) and the overall basket of goods and services captured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Transport can affect health directly – but also indirectly, through its relationship with the wider determinants of health. An affordable public transport system can encourage active transport – with people walking and cycling more – and can also support social and economic participation and access to public services. Higher transport costs can create a financial strain, limiting resources to spend on other health-supporting goods and services.

In October 2020, local bus fares in the UK were 47% higher than they were in January 2015, while the equivalent increase was 10% for overall CPI inflation, 10% for purchase of a private vehicle (such as a car or motorcycle) and 12% for personal transport equipment (such as spare parts and accessories).

Increased funding can help to increase bus routes, service frequency and reduce fares, making buses more affordable. This helps to connect people to job opportunities and services. Complementary policies that support bus use, such as lane prioritisation, can also help.

  • The Consumer Price Index component of personal transport equipment includes spare parts and accessories, fuel and lubricants, maintenance and repairs, and other services. It does not include insurance or the actual purchase of the vehicle.

Source: Office for National Statistics, Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) time series, D7BT, L7FZ, D7EF, L7FW, D7CO, D7CP and Office for National Statistics, Average weekly earnings, KAB9

Further reading

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How transport offers a route to better health

25 February 2021

About 21 mins to read

Long read

Transport affects the health of people across society, in multiple ways. Investing in transport is...

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This is part of Evidence hub: What drives health inequalities?

Data, insights and analysis exploring how the circumstances in which we live shape our health