Bus journeys fall by 90 million in a year

New Department for Transport figures have shown that the number of bus journeys taken in Great Britain fell by more than 90 million in one year.

The data shows that there were 4.8 billion bus journeys made last year, a drop of two per cent on the year before. Despite the Department for Transport saying it helped subsidise buses with £250 million a year in investment, only the south-east and south-west saw the number of journeys increase in the past decade.

The number of journeys fell by almost 85 million in England alone, while Scotland saw a drop of six million while Wales recorded a fall of 267,000 journeys. Broken by region, the figures show that there were 28.6 million journeys made in 2017-18 in Hertfordshire, a fall of 24 per cent on the 37.8 million journeys the year before.

While bus journeys have fallen, bus fares across Great Britain have risen by 21 per cent in real terms since 2008.

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association's transport spokesman, said: "Councils know how important buses are for their residents and local economies and are desperate to protect them. It's nearly impossible for councils to keep subsidising free travel while having to find billions of pounds worth of savings and protect other vital services like caring for the elderly and disabled, protecting children, filling potholes and collecting bins. Faced with significant funding pressures, many across the country are being forced into taking difficult decisions to scale back services and review subsidised routes."

Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said: “These figures underline the devastating impact of Tory cuts on local bus services. People are being denied opportunities in work and education and are cut off from friends and family, particularly those in rural areas or from low income backgrounds.

“At the same time, cutting and withdrawing services is worsening congestion, air pollution and our impact on climate change. A Labour government will act in the interest of the many by putting investment back into bus services, protecting pensioners’ bus passes and introducing a new free pass for under 25s.”

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