Local bus passenger journeys in England drop by 119 million
The number of local bus passenger journeys in England fell by 119 million or 2.6%, to 4.53 billion in the year to end March 2016, according to the figures released by the UK Department for Transport.
The steady decline in bus use in England outside London continued and there has been a gradual reduction in bus use in London this year in comparison with the previous year’s figures.
Local bus fares in England, in the 12 months to March 2016, have gone up by 1.8%, similar to the annual all items Retail Prices Index rate of inflation (1.6%).
Bus mileage in England has decreased by 2% in comparison to 2014-15. One of the chief causes is a 12.3% decrease in mileage on local authority supported services in England outside London.
The commercial mileage decreased by 0.8%, a reversal of the recent trend where a decrease in supported mileage has been partially met by an increase in commercial mileage.
Reacting to the figures released by the UK Department of Transport, Green Party transport spokesperson Caroline Russell said: "On the day the government is being taken to court for failure to deliver clean air, it is sad to see the figures showing bus use is declining.
“With most of the UK suffering dangerously polluted air, the government should be promoting and increasing our bus services not presiding over their decline.
"Wherever people live they can help reduce air pollution but only if it's safe to walk and cycle and there is a convenient public transport alternative to the car for local trips."
Green Party group leader and Norwich City Council Councillor Martin Schmierer said: "It is no surprise that bus usage is dropping if fares keep going up so rapidly.
"The government and local authorities need to do more to promote public transport rather than allowing above-inflation price rises.
"The solution is clear: the government should subsidise bus journeys for all and their routes should be re-regulated, so that buses go where they are needed rather than simply where they are likely to make the most money.
"Investment in clean, modern electric buses would help tackle congestion and air pollution by making bus travel a practical and attractive option again."