On the Move 2006 - Passengers, Partnerships and Growth

Published: 18-10-2006

A report published today reveals that bus use in the UK is booming. The number of bus trips taken last year hit 4.6 billion, more than double the combined figure for rail, tram and London Underground.

This is an increase of 8.92 per cent in the last six years, up one per cent on last. These figures are unveiled in On the Move 2006 - Passengers, Partnerships and Growth, produced by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).  

The report calls for the introduction of more bus priority measures as a means of tackling congestion and increasing passenger numbers. It identifies Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Tyne and Wear as areas in the country that would currently most benefit from bus priority measures. The report even singles out the types of schemes that would have the most impact. Initiatives such as bus lanes, corridors and gates, priority for buses at traffic lights and mixed priority street schemes. 

On the Move 2006 also highlights towns and cities that have already benefited from bus priority measures, York, Cambridge, Brighton, Edinburgh and parts of Manchester and Leeds.In each example the report explains the effects of bus priority and how it attracts more people on the bus, while helping to alleviate congestion. Each time the partnership between operators and local authorities has been the key to success. 

The research was carried out by the Centre for Transport Policy, one of the UK’s leading transport think-tanks.  Across the country, people are travelling further on the bus. Last year a total of 23.5 billion passenger kilometres was covered, an increase of 500 million and the highest figure for 10 years. London has again performed strongly, where the unique transport conditions make the bus the only viable option for many commuters.  

With more people travelling on the bus, bus operators have seen their turnover increase, which means a considerable investment in newer vehicles. The average age of the bus on the road is now seven years old, three years younger than those in operation a decade ago. Newer vehicles mean fewer emissions. 

Gillian Merron MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport comments: "I want everyone involved in the bus industry to build on the examples of best practice in 'On the Move' - and go further still. Passengers want more frequent services that are safe, clean and accessible at a fair price. If the bus industry can deliver that across the country, then it's win, win. We lessen the burden on our roads, we provide an efficient and economical transport option, we reduce pollution and we stimulate the economy." 

CPT spokesman Simon Posner comments:  “Bus companies are working hard to provide a truly viable alternative to cars. Operators can do all they can to create successful services but they cannot do it alone. The greatest successes occur when partnerships are created between local authorities and passenger transport groups.  

“Bus priority schemes have a long track record of success. Road management strategies have to be carefully planned and operators and authorities need to plan together. There is still plenty to do to improve passenger services, considerable achievements can be made but only if operators and local authorities work together.”

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