Congestion keeping people off buses after slower and less reliable journeys

Clogged roads are driving passengers away from taking the bus, industry leaders have warned.

Congestion is leading to slower journeys and less reliability.

A drop in average speed from 12 to 10mph adds three minutes to the time taken to travel seven miles.

Graham Vidler, chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, representing bus and coach operators, said: “Congestion rather than fares is the biggest depressant of numbers. People don’t like unreliability and longer journey times.”

The CPT is calling for urgent action to free up England’s roads.

Other reasons for falling bus use include a rise in car ownership, part-time or flexible working and online shopping, which cuts trips.

Buses are our major form of public transport with one in four using a bus at least once a week. But there were 202 million fewer journeys in the five years to 2017.

Department for Transport figures show 13 billion journeys a year in the 1950s are down to around 4.5 billion today.

Since 2010 passenger numbers have slumped by 10% while bus services have been reduced and fares have increased by 32%. Fares rose by 40% in some metropolitan areas from 2005 to 2019.

The Daily Mirror’s Save Our Buses campaign stands up for local bus routes and defends them from funding cuts. 

Town Hall leaders fear 12,700 services which councils subsidise are at risk.

The Local Government Association has warned nearly half of bus routes in England could be axed due to a lack of funding.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pledged this year to reverse Tory cuts to bus routes with new funding of £1.3billion a year to reinstate many “lost” services, and create new ones.

  • MPs have backed calls for a national bus strategy at an event hosted by Campaign for Better Transport.

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