Wales bucks the trend in Government’s latest quarterly bus stats

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The Government has once again released quarterly statistics on bus use in the UK.

The stats, which cover the number of passenger journeys and the price of fares, generally continue trends which have been familiar to the industry for several years.

For the year ending June 2018, 4.36bn local bus passenger journeys took place in England – a 1.5% decrease.

The number of journeys in London decreased by 1.2%, while in England outside London the decline was 1.7%.

When comparing local bus passenger journeys for April to June 2018 with April to June 2017, there is a 1.7% decrease in England and a 2.8% decrease in London.

In the same period, bus journeys in England outside London decreased by 0.6%, Scotland decreased by a significant 6% and Wales, bucking the trend, rose by 1%.

The local bus fares index increased by 3.2% in England between June 2017 and June 2018.

Elsewhere, there was a 0.4% increase in London fares, a 2.2% increase in metropolitan areas and 6.6% increase in non-metropolitan areas; the consumer prices index (CPI) increased by 2.4% over the same 12-month period.

Local bus fares increased by 4.5% in Scotland and 3.5% in Wales.

Darren Shirley, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said of the statistics:

“The falling number of passengers taking the bus is a consequence of continued cuts in funding to support services.

“Nationally and locally this is resulting in fewer services and higher fares. The statistics back up what our research has been showing for years: that buses are in crisis.

“They are vital for the economy and the environment, but year-on-year people especially in rural areas are losing their bus service, making it difficult to access jobs, education and other essential public services.

“In the Budget at the end of October, the Government needs to ensure it supports and encourages local bus services rather than continuing the trend of cutting the budget each year.”