Cornwall was the only area in England where residents took more buses last year than before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

The Government introduced a £2 cap on fares across the country earlier this year – a move previously trialled by Cornwall Council.

The Campaign for Better Transport said rising bus usage figures prove "cheaper fares and increased provision are putting the brakes on bus decline".

Department for Education figures show residents in Cornwall took 10.2 million bus journeys in the year to March – up from 7.7 million the year before.

The rise means the number of bus journeys surpassed pre-pandemic levels, when 7.9 million journeys were taken.

It also makes Cornwall the only area in England where people took more bus journeys last year than before the coronavirus pandemic

Nationally, 3.4 billion journeys were completed last year – up from 2.8 billion the year before, but below the 4 billion taken in the year to March 2020.

Silviya Barrett, director of policy and research at the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "Since the pandemic dip, people are getting back on buses in their droves.

"The national £2 fare cap is boosting passenger numbers, and we’re seeing many local authorities going the extra mile to support buses."

The figures also show bus companies in Cornwall provided 11.3 million miles of services in the year to March – down from 11.8 million the year before.

In 2012-13, 11.1 million miles were provided, meaning bus coverage has grown slightly over the last decade.

But nationally, the total length of bus routes has fallen by 21%, from 1.3 billion miles in 2012-13 to 1 billion last year.

Ms Barrett said declining bus provision is "disappointing".

She said: "We hope that recent funding allocations will reverse this trend and we will see an increase, as we have with local authority-supported services.

"But ultimately the way buses are funded must change – a long-term strategy is needed to ensure all regions have a decent level of bus provision and no place is left behind."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "Buses are our most popular form of public transport and play a vital role in connecting communities, but passenger numbers remain down nearly 12% on pre-Covid levels.

"To keep essential routes running and encourage people back onto buses, the Government has invested over £3.5 billion since 2020, and by using funding redirected from HS2, we have also extended the £2 bus fare cap until the end of 2024 thanks to our Network North plan."