Report by David Begg warns that congestion could ‘destroy’ bus sector and calls for Bus Services Bill to respond with targets for average bus speeds

 

Greener_JourneysThe report was commissioned by industry campaign group Greener Journeys

 

Buses are under threat from a growing congestion crisis on Britain’s roads as journey times rise and passengers are forced to seek alternative transport, a new analysis of local networks reveals.

The findings are included in an updated report on congestion and its impact on bus services across the UK commissioned by industry campaign group Greener Journeys, which was launched in Westminster this week.

The first part of the study, The Impact of Congestion on Bus Passengers, by Professor David Begg, was launched in June (PT136). The updated study reveals big increases in bus journey times across the UK (see below).

The report warns that if journey times continue to increase at their current rate, bus usage will drop by between 10% and 14% every 10 years, putting the future of the bus sector under threat.

“Traffic congestion is a disease which, left unchecked will destroy the bus sector,” said Begg.

“Urgent action is required from industry, local government and Whitehall to reduce reliance on cars and encourage more sustainable modes of transport.”

To address the problem, the report says that the Bus Services Bill should set guidance encouraging local authorities and bus operators to set targets for average bus speeds. It also says that the national introduction of contactless payments by 2019, three years earlier than planned, could help to ease congestion.

Other measures to be considered include charging van drivers making deliveries during peak hours; introducing bus lanes; and encouraging bus companies to provide more up-to-date travel information for passengers.

 

Slower cities:

  • Bus journey times in the West Midlands have increased by 8% over the past seven years;
  • Passenger numbers in Glasgow have fallen by an “alarming” 22% in a decade, equal to 49 million fewer passenger journeys;
  • Bus speeds have now fallen below 10mph in Oxford.

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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