Buses are the most-used form of public transport, carrying millions of people to school and work, shops, doctors' surgeries and social activities. Good bus services help tackle congestion in cities and stop rural communities being cut off; they're vital in tackling social exclusion and loneliness. And zero emission buses can help cut air pollution and reduce carbon emissions.
But for the past few years, bus services have been beset with problems:
- Reductions in central and local funding for buses have led to many services being reduced or withdrawn
- Bus fares increased by more than 55 per cent between 2012 and 2022; much faster than rail fares or motoring
- In many places buses are not frequent or reliable, and traffic on the roads can make journeys slow
- Government messaging during the Covid pandemic damaged passenger trust in public transport and stay at home restrictions impacted on passenger numbers and bus operator revenue.
For almost a decade, Campaign for Better Transport led calls for a national strategy to protect and improve bus services and grow passenger numbers. Finally, in March 2021, the Government published Bus Back Better.
Bus Back Better aims to address the long-term decline in bus services and create a bus network fit for the future. This hugely ambitious Strategy is supported by £3 billion in funding and contains many of the policies we have campaigned for over the years. Find out more about the Strategy and what it means for local bus services in this blog.
Our campaigning on buses isn't over though. We continue to keep up the pressure on the Government to ensure that it delivers on its promises, including continuing to provide financial support to bus operators until passengers numbers begin to return, and supporting local authorities to deliver their Bus Service Improvement Plans. We have also worked with the Mayor of London to promote zero emission buses.
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