Last reviewed 2 June 2021

Bus and coach registrations fell by -58.5% in the first three months of 2021 to only 582 vehicles according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

As the sector faced significantly reduced demand during nationwide lockdowns combined with a longer term challenge of declining numbers of passengers, it has recorded the weakest start to the year on record.

While the entire sector saw double-digit declines, single-deck buses and coaches were most affected by prolonged closures, down -72.6% to just 91 vehicles registered.

Meanwhile, the largest segment, minibuses weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, saw a decline of -59.2% to just 384 vehicles, and double-deck bus and coach registrations dropped -17.7% to 107 vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “It is devastating but unsurprising that the bus and coach sector has continued to suffer well into 2021, with no sign of recovery yet. Battling with long term declines in passenger numbers and the nationwide lockdown measures brought about by the pandemic, has resulted in plummeting registrations.”

Given that the UK needs to replace at least 4000 vehicles a year as they retire from service, he pointed out, the country is dangerously at risk of a bus shortage at a time when public transport will be needed most as businesses return to work.

More details of the latest registrations can be found at www.smmt.co.uk/vehicle-data/bus-and-coach-registrations.