Commenting on the annual bus statistics for 2018/19 released in December 2019 by the Department for Transport (DfT), the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) said that they showed the vital need for both central and local government to put the bus first in all towns and cities across the country.

Available at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, the DfT report shows that the number of local bus passenger journeys in England fell by 29 million or 0.7% to 4.32 billion in the year ending March 2019.

In London, bus use decreased by 1.2% in the year under review, a continuation of a downward trend since the capital’s record peak in 2013/14.

Although passenger journeys in England outside London declined by a smaller decrease than in previous years (0.1%), they fell to the lowest recorded point.

The average number of bus passenger journeys per head in England outside London was 45 in 2018/19, down from 54 in 2009/10. Out of 88 local authorities in England outside London, 70 had a decrease in bus use per head from 2009/10 to 2018/19.

CPT Policy Manager Alison Edwards said: “In contrast with London where passenger numbers are falling more quickly than elsewhere in England, areas such as Bristol, the West Midlands ITA and Merseyside where there are strong partnerships between bus operators and local authorities are seeing growing bus passenger numbers (Bristol and West Midlands both recorded an average of around 92 passenger journeys per head in 2018/19).”

She welcomed the fact that that 88% of passengers were satisfied with their bus journeys and that many buses are now offering services such as free Wi-Fi (31%) and contactless payment (at least 74%).

The CPT has highlighted independent research suggesting that that rising car ownership and congestion are the biggest issues impacting on bus use.

Last reviewed 14 January 2020