Jesse Norman helps Greener Journeys to launch the fifth annual Catch the Bus Week initiative


Jesse Norman and Claire Haigh launched last week’s Catch the Bus Week event at Brixton bus garage in south London


Incoming transport minister Jesse Norman lent his support to the fifth annual Catch the Bus Week, which took place last week.

The event saw Britons encouraged to leave their cars at home and choose to use the bus, with hundreds of operators and organisations coming together across the country to highlight the economic, social and environmental benefits of taking the bus.

Last week’s event saw Greener Journeys, the cross-industry lobby group that organises the campaign, press the case for the bus. It said that research it has commissioned from consultancy KPMG has found that every pound spent on local bus infrastructure can generate more than £8 of benefits for local businesses, communities and the environment.

Local economies also receive a boost from bus users using the mode to work, to do their shopping and enjoy leisure activities.

The study by KPMG evaluating existing local bus infrastructure across the UK found that these projects delivered between £6.10 and £8.10 of benefits to bus passengers, to other road users and the wider community. The consultancy also explored the true value of local bus services, also found that each £1 spent on concessionary bus travel for older and disabled people generates £3.80 in wider benefits to society.

Greener Journeys said that the research demonstrates that although buses are Britain’s most widely used form of public transport, and despite being vital for society and the economy, they rarely get the recognition they deserve.

Catch the Bus Week is an important initiative and I’m pleased to be launching it

“Catch the Bus Week is an important initiative and I’m pleased to be launching it,” said Norman at a special event to launch Catch the Bus Week at Brixton bus garage in south London. “Buses are vital for connecting people, communities, homes and businesses.”

“We have given councils extra powers to work in partnership with bus companies to improve the service passengers receive, and we provide around £250m to support bus services every year, benefiting passengers up and down the country. That’s on top of free off-peak bus travel for nearly 10 million older and disabled people in England.

“I warmly encourage commuters to try the bus this week.”

Claire Haigh, chief executive of Greener Journeys, said that the annual event brought together operators, organisations and stakeholders. “There isn’t a single area of our daily lives that doesn’t in some way depend on the bus, so it is fantastic to see its worth celebrated,” she added.

‘Cheat on your car’

First Bus used Catch the Bus Week to launch a new campaign that encouraged drivers to “cheat on their car” with a digital marketing campaign that included discounted ticket offers for new bus users. “Our aim with the Catch the Bus Week activity has been to encourage car users to swap at least one car journey for a bus trip, in the hope that they will value the benefits that bus travel can bring,” said Rosalind Burrows, First Bus marketing manager. “We will continue to use creative and innovative campaigns.”

Free travel in reading

Council-owned operator Reading Buses highlighted its ticketing app for Catch the Bus Week with a special QR code that gave new users of the app a day of free bus travel last Sunday. The special promotional QR code on the home screen of the app aimed to highlight the advantages of travelling by bus, and the campaign was backed up by social media activity.

Arriva offers £1 ticket

As well as hosting the launch of Catch the Bus Week at its Brixton bus garage in south London, Arriva held a series of events to coincide with the annual event, which is now in its fifth year. This included a special £1 all-day ticket deal across its UK bus network outside of London on the group’s nationwide m-ticketing app.
“Arriva fully supports Catch the Bus Week, which provides a perfect opportunity for people who don’t normally use the bus to enjoy the benefits it can bring,” said Kevin O’Connor, managing director of Arriva’s bus operations in the UK.

This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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