Improving services and sustainability through better jobs and democracy

Fares up, passenger numbers down: the sorry trends of British buses

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Accessibility, All news, Bus, Europe, Finance, Funding, Services, Social inclusion, Sustainability, Systems, Urban planning |

Britain’s Department for Transport published theĀ  annual bus statistics for England yesterday — and they tell a sorry tale of fares rising above inflation and falling passenger numbers.

Just when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is issuing its starkest warnings yet, the signs in Britain are that the people who need public transport most are being priced out, while motorists are given insufficient incentive to get out of their cars.

The statistics show that English bus fares have gone up by an average of 4.7 per cent, while passenger numbers were down 2.6 per cent, compared to the previous year. Over the past five years, bus passengerĀ  journeys have now fallen by 9 per cent.

As the Campaign for Better Transport in Britain has put it:

“Today’s figures show the dire consequences of government cuts to support for buses. Year on year, we are seeing higher fares and fewer services. This is a false economy, preventing people from taking up job opportunities and hitting the poorest in society with massive hikes in travel costs.

“Buses are the lifeblood of the UK economy yet the economic, social and environmental importance of buses is not being recognised by those in power currently. It is time for a new approach to be taken by Government and for them to harness and realise the massive potential of buses.

“The short-termist approach of widespread bus cuts to make cost savings is clearly not working and we believe a new approach must focus on funding reform and the important issue of social exclusion.”

qpt | Quality Public Transport
468 ad