Last reviewed 3 November 2023

The number of people taking the bus outside of London has returned to pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

After months of steady growth, October saw the first week day when more people travelled by bus than on the equivalent day before Covid-19 struck. in contrast, rail usage is still at 83% of pre-pandemic levels.

Commenting on the news, Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), said: “Operators have worked tirelessly to make the bus as attractive as possible for passengers, keeping fares low and investing over £2 billon in cleaner, greener vehicles over the last eight years, making it the sector’s greenest and most modern fleet.”

With the majority of bus journeys outside of London capped at £2, he went on, there has never been a better time to give the bus a try.

Whilst welcoming the additional £930 million allocated to buses in the north of England and the Midlands following the reconfiguration of the HS2 budget earlier this month (see PM decides to spend HS2 money on Network North), the CPT is urging the Government to recognise the importance of buses to people’s lives across the whole country by committing to long-term, nationwide funding for the sector.

“The payback of such investment could be huge, with buses being key drivers of economic growth, levelling up our communities and reducing our carbon emissions,” Mr Vidler concluded.