Greener Journeys report shows bus growth in affluent south
A new report carried out by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership on behalf of Greener Journeys claims that bus use is increasing in key urban areas as services become greener, more convenient and better connected. The report identifies that areas which have benefited from investment and prioritisation by local councils in partnership with operators have resulted in the largest improvement, including Bristol (19 per cent increase from 2009/10 to 2015/16), Reading (17 per cent), Milton Keynes (15 per cent) and Oxfordshire (12 per cent).
Although the largest growth has been seen in more affluent areas in the south of England, the report says that York has also gained with a 7 per cent increase in bus usage since 2011/12 – the equivalent of an extra 600,000 passenger journeys per year.
“Over the last ten years, bus use has grown in the south west and south east of England,” says the report, “suggesting that the balance between private and shared travel for those living in the wealthiest, most congested, parts of the country may be gradually shifting in favour of the bus. ‘Peak car’ may not yet be widespread, but there could be signs of its emergence here.”
A separate survey of more than 800 passengers across the UK found that convenience is the most common reason to choose the bus for their journey, with 57 per cent of respondents naming it as a key factor. However in the south east and south west – the regions where bus usage increased overall – passengers were more likely to cite avoiding traffic (30 per cent) and environmental benefits (28 per cent) as a main reason for travelling by bus than the national average (22 per cent and 20 per cent of passengers respectively).
Claire Haigh, chief executive, Greener Journeys, says: “This new report clearly shows that investment in buses, and prioritisation of bus networks, can reap real rewards by increasing passenger numbers and taking more cars off the road, with all the economic, social and environmental benefits that brings.
“We would encourage councils and operators across the UK to look at the innovative services, measures for tackling congestion and clean bus technology detailed in this report as a model for raising usage and sparking their own bus renaissance.”