Bus operators across England are setting out a bold strategy to work with government to improve services, help tackle climate change and get a billion more passenger journeys by bus by 2030.
The new strategy Moving Forward Together was launched by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).
The strategy includes new commitments from the industry, including a pledge to work with government to make every new bus an ultra-low or zero emission bus from 2025.
The CPT is the voice for bus and coach operators across the UK, representing over 95 percent of the bus industry including the major operators Arriva, First Group, Go Ahead, National Express and Stagecoach as well as hundreds of smaller operators.
Additional commitments in the strategy include reducing travel costs for job seekers and apprentices by 2021, introducing price-capped daily and weekly tickets across multiple operators by 2022 in urban areas and working with government to develop innovative sustainable solutions to rural transport.
Alongside the industry’s commitments CPT is calling on the Government to introduce a national bus strategy to help deliver better bus services across England. This would include bus journey time targets for local transport authorities, speeding up millions of journeys to work, school and leisure and encouraging more people to get on the bus.
Graham Vidler, CPT Chief Executive said: “Buses are already the cleanest form of road transport and have a crucial role to play in tackling environmental issues and helping to meet important targets on improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.
“With the right support from government to make the transition the bus industry will buy only ultra-low or zero emission buses by 2025, reducing CO2 emissions by half a million tonnes a year.”
Buses are a vital part of the UK’s infrastructure with passengers generating £64 billion of economic output annually. Each person takes around 50 bus trips per year and 60 percent of all public transport journeys are taken by bus.
Every day, over two million people all over the country travel to work by bus, and a million more to school or college.
Graham Vidler continues: “We can do even more to tackle climate change and improve air quality by getting people out of their cars and onto the bus. If everyone switched just one car journey a month to bus, there would be a billion fewer car journeys and a saving of two million tonnes of CO2 a year.
“Better bus services are the key to shifting travel habits and growing the significant economic contribution the industry makes. We know that congestion remains the biggest barrier to increasing passenger numbers in towns and cities and that many rural communities feel current bus services don’t meet their needs.
"We’ll continue to invest in better buses with better facilities and simpler ticketing. We need government to incentivise local authorities to cut congestion and work with us to examine new ways of delivering transport services that work for more isolated communities”.
Buses Minister, Baroness Vere said: “Buses link people with work, school, friends and family and are vital to helping drive down emissions by providing a greener travel option.
“That’s why this Government is spending an additional £200 million on boosting bus services. This is on top of £250 million already spent each year, as well as funding for a range of low-emission technologies across the sector.
“The Confederation of Passenger Transport’s strategy emphasises the importance of the bus industry and I look forward to working with them to continue to bolster bus services across the country.”
This article is based on a press release from the Confederation of Passenger Transport.