Last reviewed 23 May 2022

Demand for new buses and coaches grew by 45.2% in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022, but still remains well below (-44.4%) the pre-pandemic five year average.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), single deck bus registrations increased sharply, rising by 131.9%, with minibuses up 36.8% and double-deckers up 8.4%.

The year-on-year increase compares with the weakest start to a year on record in 2021, when orders collapsed as a result of plummeting passenger numbers given pandemic-related restrictions.

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said: “The return to growth of the bus and coach sector, which is critical for the UK’s Net Zero goals and levelling up agenda, is very welcome. It is, however, still some way short of a recovery. As declining passenger numbers continue to hamper the confidence of operators to renew their fleets, incentives are essential.”

While funding has slowly started to be released, he emphasised that the Government must act faster, using cash from the Bus Back Better Fund to support investment in vehicles and using its other funding streams to encourage infrastructural expansion.

With bus fleet renewal essential for the UK to meet the Government’s ambitious Net Zero goals, the SMMT stressed that operators need confidence and support to switch to the latest and greenest buses.