Quarter of bus routes axed in England in last decade

The Campaign for Better Transport has revealed that more than one in four bus services in England have been lost in the last decade, with the pandemic having a devastating effect.

As many as 27 per cent of bus services in England (as measured by vehicle miles) have vanished in the last decade. The number of bus services (as measured by 'live' bus registrations) dropped from 16,913 in March 2012, to 12,067 in March 2021 – a decline of 29 per cent across England.

The biggest drop has been as a result of the pandemic. In the eight years between 2011/12-2018/19, bus vehicle miles in England dropped by ten per cent, whereas in the two years between March 2019 and March 2021, they fell by almost double that (18 per cent).

The regions with the biggest declines are the North West and the East of England, both losing 38 per cent of services, followed by the East Midlands with a 35 per cent loss.

The Campaign for Better Transport is calling for a national, government-led campaign to encourage people back on board and turn around the fortune of buses. The campaign should be accompanied by fare incentives and offers to encourage people back on board.

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."

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