New figures suggest 'slow death of local buses'

 

The number of people using buses in England fell again in the last financial year in the face of real-terms fare increases and cuts to local routes.

The latest statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT) show that the number of local bus passenger journeys in England fell 1.4% to 4.38 billion in the year ending March 2018, compared with 2016/17.

”Local

The figure for the year ending March 2017 of 4.44 billion passenger journeys itself represented a 1.5% fall on the previous year, according to DfT statistics published in December.

In the year to March 2018, local bus fares increased by 2.8%, which officials pointed out was faster than the all items Consumer Prices Index rate of inflation (2.5%).

Steve Chambers, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: 'Today's figures show the continuing downward spiral of local buses continues. This is no surprise given the loss of thousands of routes and services across the country and the fact that bus fares are rising faster than other consumer items and far faster than wages.

'Behind these cold statistics lie serious impacts on people's lives. The reductions in services and increases in fares mean that people without cars are increasingly isolated and can't get access to jobs, training or public services like health and social care, while those with cars find themselves having to use them more and more to get around. Our annual Buses in Crisis report, due out next month, is expected to show even more routes lost due to local authority cuts.'

He added: 'Without a proper coach and bus investment strategy and funding to support it, we will witness the slow death of local buses.'

During the year ending March 2018, bus use in England outside London saw the largest fall, declining by 47 million passengers journeys to 2.15 billion (2.2%). DfT officials said this continued the decline since 2009 to a point where it is now 11% lower than the peak in the year ending December 2008.

In London, where bus use has recently fallen faster than elsewhere in the country, passenger journeys decreased by 14 million to 2.23 billion (0.6%). Officials pointed out that this remains 3% higher than in the year ending March 2008.

In the quarter from January to March 2018, bus use in London fell by 1.2% compared with the same quarter in 2017. Bus use in metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas of England also decreased over the same period.

A Transport for London spokesperson said: 'London is leading the way in showing how it is possible to keep fares affordable while still investing record amounts to create better public transport and facilities to increase walking and cycling.

'While bus ridership last year was marginally lower than the previous year overall, it is regularly outperforming transport services elsewhere, supported by the TfL fares freeze, the unlimited Bus Hopper fare and record reliability.'

The Bus Services Act, which received royal assent in April 2017, was intended to reverse the long-term decline in bus patronage by allowing some local authorities to bring in franchising schemes, with mayoral combined authorities given an automatic right to do so.

However the uptake of these new powers over the past year appears to be limited. Greater Manchester appears to be considering a move, yet is likely to face opposition from bus operators. 

Also see

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
transport network jobs

Operations Manager – Waste and Recycling

Bath & North East Somerset Council
£38,052- £40,858.
This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced waste management professional Bath, Somerset
Recuriter: Bath & North East Somerset Council

HGV Driver/Loader

Torridge District Council
£18,070 - £20,138
DRIVER/LOADER (HGV) Driving and loading a refuse/recycling collection vehicle up to 26 tonne gross weight, you will collect recycling or household ... Bideford, Devon
Recuriter: Torridge District Council

Principal Transport Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£37,320 to £40,198
The role will require close dialogue with developers and their agents and necessitate strong partnership working with District Councils... Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Senior Engineer – Traffic and Road Safety

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 - £38,994 per annum
Redbridge Council is an outer Borough, working to improve the environment and its services for residents and businesses. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Trainee Technician – Active and Sustainable Travel

Redbridge London Borough Council
£20,667 - £22,424 per annum
Redbridge Council is an outer Borough, working to improve the environment and its services for residents and businesses. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Senior Engineer – Parking

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 - £38,994 per annum
To be responsible for the delivery of parking engineering design and implementation of schemes across the borough Ilford, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Senior Engineer – Highway Maintenance/Asset Management

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 - £38,994 per annum
To be responsible for highway asset management, reactive and planned highway maintenance, highway safety and structural surveys and inspections. Ilford, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Trainee Technician – Projects

Redbridge London Borough Council
£20,667 - £22,424 per annum
Redbridge Council is an outer Borough, working to improve the environment and its services for residents and businesses. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Senior Engineer – Flood Management/Civil Engineering

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 - £38,994 per annum
To provide expert advice on highway and land drainage, flood risk management, sustainable drainage, highway structures and bridges... Ilford, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Senior Engineer – Development Control

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 - £38,994 per annum
To be responsible for assisting and supporting the operational delivery of the Council’s highways development control function and to assist the lead Ilford, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Engineer – Projects

Redbridge London Borough Council
£30,930 - £32,638 per annum
To assist with the delivery of highway and land drainage, flood risk management, sustainable drainage, highway structures and bridges... Ilford, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Engineer – Parking

Redbridge London Borough Council
£30,930 - £32,638 per annum
To assist with the delivery of parking engineering design and implementation of schemes across the borough Ilford, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Engineer (Bridges)

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
You will have experience in the development, planning, design and implementation of transport infrastructure and related projects Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Pest Control Officer

Brent Council
£25,746 - £27,342 p.a. inc.
Salary range
Recuriter: Brent Council

Streetworks Officer

Westminster City Council
£32,592 - £41,601
As Streetworks Officer you will be a member of the permitting and streetworks team City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Vehicle Mechanic

Rugby Borough Council
£23,866 - £28,221 (£28,703 - £33,941 pro rata for 44.5 hours per week)
The post holder will ideally be qualified to undertake taxi compliance testing, preparation for MOT testing from Class 4 and 7. Rugby, Warwickshire
Recuriter: Rugby Borough Council

Highways manager

Trafford Council
£45,659 - £48,558 per annum
Trafford is a thriving, prosperous and culturally vibrant Borough at the heart of the Manchester City region Trafford, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Trafford Council

Operations Manager (City Highways)

Westminster City Council
£45,387 - £57,234
As Operations Manager for City Highways, you will be a member of the management team, contributing proactively... City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Executive Director of Growth, Highways and Infrastructure

Suffolk County Council
£130,000
Suffolk needs someone with ambition, drive and tenacity to deliver major change andinclusive growth that will benefit our communities. Is that you? Suffolk
Recuriter: Suffolk County Council

Assistant Director, Community Safety & Environmental Health

Royal Borough of Greenwich
Up to £100,830
You will work closely with key partners including the Police and Prevent to keep the streets and communities safe Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich