According to Bus & Coach Operators, a new Market Update from Key Note, bus service operator revenues grew by an estimated 0.1% over the year ending 31st March 2015, while the volume of passenger journeys decline by 0.8% year-on-year. Despite a fall in passenger journeys in recent years, buses remain the leading mode of public transport, in volumes terms, accounting for 61.5% of all journeys undertaken across all public transport services.
Bus services across the country have, however, been under increasing pressure in recent years as a result of cuts to transportation funding under government austerity measures, as it looks to balance public finances. As a result of funding cuts, local authority transportation budgets have been increasingly constrained, while direct funding from Central Government — through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) — faced a 20% cut during 2012/2013.
One positive area helping to drive passenger journeys is the implementation of Oyster-style — London’s incredibly successful smart-ticketing scheme — ticketing across the rest of the UK. These systems offer far superior convenience, allow passengers to pay for bus journeys with a single card or ticket, across any of the various operators within the area and, in many cases, even across different transport modes. This offers major improvements over previous ticketing schemes, whereby passengers were faced with the often confusing prospect of buying different tickets at a range of prices across the various operators running services. To boost multi-operator and multi-modal ticketing, the Government is looking at introducing London-style franchising to give local authorities across the country greater control over public transportation.
While smart ticketing should help to boost passenger volumes, the roll out is patchy across the UK, and passenger volumes are unlikely to see any significant increases over the coming years. Operator revenues, however, are forecast to see growth, largely due to the ongoing upward trend in fare prices.
By Andrew Capstick
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Notes to editors:
Key Note’s 2015 Market Update, Bus & Coach Operators, analyses the market for bus and coach services in the UK.
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