New bus and coach registrations fall 77% in second quarter

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Just 328 new buses and coaches joined the UK’s roads in the second quarter of this year, representing a fall of 77.1%, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Single-deck bus registrations saw the biggest decline, down 93.3% to just 51 vehicles, as double-deck bus demand also fell substantially, down 62.7%. Meanwhile, demand for minibuses fell 57.6% to just over 200 vehicles, albeit still showing growth in the year to date of 21.5% following a buoyant first quarter.

Overall, figures for the first six months show a decrease in demand of more than a third (34.6%) to 1,731 units. Registrations of single-decks and double-decks fell significantly, dropping by 67.5% and 61.7% respectively.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the UK bus and coach market. With lockdown measures halting nearly all road public transport, operators’ willingness and ability to invest in their fleets has plummeted. It’s essential that this vital sector can spring back into action as restrictions ease and people return to work and school.

“We urgently need the government investment announced earlier this year to be released to get the sector moving and the latest low emissions buses on the road to replace the most polluting older vehicles. Longer term, we need a national bus strategy to help inject confidence into both the sector and, importantly, the travelling public.”