12-year low for local bus journeys

Department for Transport figures have highlighted that the crisis facing local transport has reached a pivotal point as the number of local bus journeys has fallen to a 12-year low.

According to the data, 1.2 billion journeys were made in Britain between April and June this year, representing a 10 per cent fall from a peak of 1.33 billion between July and September 2008. Alongside the figures, Press Association analysis has revealed that demand for bus travel has not been this low since the beginning of 2006, coinciding with a 55 per cent increase in fares.

The Campaign for Better Transport says that public funding for bus services had almost halved in the last eight years, with local authority budgets for services in England and Wales having been cut by £20.5 million in 2017. The transport group is urging the government to use the upcoming budget to halt the trend of cutting support for buses.

Darren Shirley, the new chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “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.”

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