Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) research has revealed that more than one in four bus services in England (27%) has been lost in the last decade, with the pandemic having a devastating effect on bus provision. The transport charity is calling for a national, Government-led campaign to encourage people back on board to help turn around the fortune of buses.
Campaign for Better Transport’s research shows that more than a quarter of bus services in England, measured by vehicle miles, have vanished in the last decade. It said the number of bus services (measured by ‘live’ bus registrations) dropped from 16,913 in March 2012, to 12,067 in March 2021 – a decline of 29% across England.
CBT identified that the biggest drop had been as a result of the pandemic. In the eight years between 2011/12 and 2018/19, it showed that bus miles in England dropped by 10%, whereas in the two years between March 2019 and March 2021, mileage fell by 18%. The North West and the East of England saw the biggest declines, both losing 38% of services, followed by the East Midlands with a 35% loss.
Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Buses are relied upon by millions of people and should play a central role in a green transport future, but they have been struggling for some time, and the pandemic has made things much worse. The Government must recognise the need for a national campaign to attract passengers back to public transport.”