Latest stats show post-pandemic travel increasing

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Bus use remains well below pre-pandemic levels, latest statistics show. JONATHAN WELCH

Road use has returned to pre-pandemic levels, but public transport use still remains below previous levels

Since January 2022, usage has increased overall across all transport modes, the latest Government figures show, with motor vehicle usage showing the quickest recovery to pre-Covid levels and exceeding them consistently since early May. For public transport, including National Rail, buses and Transport for London, usage increased at a slower rate and has generally remained below pre-Covid levels until recently, the figures show, when National Rail usage exceeded pre-Covid levels on weekdays on multiple occasions since April this year, although this includes the impact of Crossrail services.

Although usage fluctuates day by day, and bus usage outside of London is heavily impacted by school holidays throughout the year, the figures show that since January 2022, there have been sharp changes in modal usage as a result of weather events, industrial action or other events.

Bus boardings outside of London on Monday 7 August 2023 were recorded at 74% of the volume observed on the equivalent day in the third week of January 2020, 10 percentage points higher compared to the equivalent day in 2022, when they were at 64%. In the longer term over the latest period, weekday bus usage has been between 69% and 86% of the pre-Covid baseline, in comparison to between 81% to 92% in the last reporting period.

In London, TfL bus boardings on Friday 4 August 2023 were 87% of the equivalent day in 2019, and during the reporting period usage ranged between 82% and 91%, up from between 82% and 87% of the pre-Covid baseline in the previous period.

By way of comparison, Tube entries and exits on Friday 4 August 2023 were 77% of the equivalent day in 2019, and road traffic volumes were 100% of the levels during the first week of February 2020, 1 percentage point higher compared to the equivalent day in the previous year, and against a backdrop of between 96% to 103% of the pre-Covid baseline during the most recent recording period, slightly down on the same period last year.