Bus services are under threat as the ‘disease’ of growing congestion sees journey times rise and passengers seek alternative modes of transport, campaigners have claimed.
According to a new analysis from sustainable transport group Greener Journeys, bus services in Glasgow, Oxford, Gloucestershire and the West Midlands are all suffering due to lower traffic speeds caused by rising car numbers, with some experiencing a knock-on impact in usage.
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Professor David Begg, visiting professor at Plymouth University and former chairman of the Government’s Commission for Integrated Transport, who authored the report, said: ‘Traffic congestion is a disease which, left unchecked will destroy the bus sector.
‘This is a dire and sensational prediction, but the evidence uncovered in this research leads to no other conclusion. Urgent action is required from industry, local government and Whitehall to reduce people’s reliance on cars and encourage more sustainable modes of transport.’
The new findings are included in an updated report on traffic congestion and its impact on bus services across the UK commissioned by Greener Journeys.
The first part of the study, The Impact of Congestion on Bus Passengers, by Prof Begg, was launched in June. It found that online shopping deliveries and the rise of Uber have contributed to a growing congestion crisis. The updated study reveals that:
- Bus journey times in the West Midlands have increased by 8% over the past seven years
- Passenger numbers in Glasgow have fallen by 22% in a decade
- Bus speeds have fallen below 10mph in Oxford, which has one of the nation’s highest levels of bus usage
- Journey times on some routes in Gloucestershire have risen by 90% in the past 25 years.
The report warns that traffic is expected to grow by up to 55% by 2040 across the UK, and that if journey times continue to decline at their current rate, bus passenger numbers will drop by between 10% and 14%.