New study finds 1 in 4 bus services gone in a decade – urgent action needed
Research from the Campaign for Better Transport found that more than one in four bus services in England (27%) have been lost over the past decade as the pandemic took a devastating toll.
The transport charity is calling for a government-led national campaign to encourage people to get back on board and turn the fortunes of the buses around.
Campaign for Better Transport research shows that more than a quarter (27%) of bus services in England (measured in vehicle miles travelled) have disappeared over the last decade.
- The number of bus services (as measured by ‘live’ bus listings) fell from 16,913 in March 2012 to 12,067 in March 2021, a drop of 29% across England.
- The biggest drop is due to the pandemic: in the eight years between 2011/12 and 2018/19, bus miles traveled in England fell by 10%, while in the two years between March 2019 and March 2021, they dropped. nearly double (18%).
- The regions with the biggest declines are the North West and East of England, which both lost 38% of services, followed by the East Midlands with a loss of 35%.
Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Buses are used by millions of people and should play a central role in a green transport future, but they have been struggling for some time, and the pandemic has does a lot of things. worse. The government must recognize the need for a national campaign to attract passengers back to public transport.
Given the government’s strong messages at the start of the pandemic to avoid public transport, the charity believes there is a segment of the public who will not return until the government tells them openly that it is safe to do so. The government’s campaign should be accompanied by fare incentives and offers to get people back behind the wheel.
The charity pitted the UK’s 5p fuel tax cut last week against moves to cut public transport fares in countries including New Zealand and Germany.
Mr Tuohy added: ‘Last week’s spring statement provided tax relief for motorists with a 5p reduction in fuel tax, but nothing for public transport users, although fares have increased at a much higher rate than fuel. The government says it wants people to use public transport more and drive less, but its failure to provide financial incentives to bus users mocks its leveling and carbon-cutting ambitions.