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 help cut air pollution and reduce carbon emissions.
But bus services are 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- Reductions in central and local funding for buses have led to many services being reduced or withdrawn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 60 per cent between 2009 and 2019; 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
Campaign for Better Transport has led calls for the Government to publish a National Bus Strategy with the aim of protecting and improving buses. In 2019, the Government committed to doing so.
A National Bus Strategy would give this vital transport mode the focus it deserves so that services can be improved. Combined with a long-term funding settlement for buses, it has the potential to reconnect communities, make bus travel affordable for more people and transform the UK's bus fleet to run on electricity and hydrogen, cleaning up our polluted air. Find out more about what we think should be in the National Bus Strategy, and how buses should be funded.
And we want to see local authorities being more bold and proactive. The Bus Services Act 2017 gave local authorities new powers to improve buses, but its take-up has been slow. We want to see more local authorities using these powers to work with bus operators and improve the quality and level of services.