Passenger watchdog demands action not words following another year on year decline in bus passenger numbers

Passenger watchdog demands action not words following another year on year decline in bus passenger numbers

13 June 2019

Latest figures for bus passenger numbers from Transport for London (TfL) which will be discussed by TfL Board members today*, show yet another year on year decline in bus passenger numbers – this time it is 25 million journeys (1.5%). These latest figures come after London TravelWatch heard from TfL on Tuesday about their updated bus strategy which seeks to '….reverse the trend of the decline in bus demand…'

Alan Benson, Chair of London TravelWatch’s Policy Committee commented: ‘It is crucial for London’s bus passengers, the wellbeing of the city and TfL’s finances that we get the bus service back on track after too many years of falling bus speeds and falling ridership. So many passengers depend on good bus services, including those on low incomes and those with limited mobility. It is important to remember that 6.2m bus journeys are made a day, more than rail and Underground combined.’

Since 2014/15 there have been a total of 162 million fewer bus journeys in the capital. TfL is forecasting a further reduction of 200 million bus journeys by 2023/24.

Alan continued: 'We agree with TfL’s plans and aspirations for better bus services, but it is an all too familiar story. We need to see real action on the ground to give bus services the priority they need.'

London TravelWatch wants to see TfL and the London boroughs:

  • extending the operational hours of bus lanes – many could operate 24/7. This would benefit cycles;
  • extending the operational hours of the Red Routes, again benefitting both bus services and cycles;
  • extending the operational hours of congestion charging so that the scheme operates for longer hours, seven days a week. This would benefit cycles;
  • reviewing parking restrictions on roads used by buses with a view to increasing priority for bus services;
  • increasing the number of bus only streets like the Tottenham Court Road scheme, and
  • investigating a wider and more sophisticated roads pricing scheme.

Further information

  • London TravelWatch is the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
  • *See page 105 of the report.
  • Follow London TravelWatch on Twitter and You Tube.
  • For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 020 3176 5941 or 07734 055494.
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