Bus passengers (or the lack of them) – the nub of the problem?

12 July 2013

Bus passenger numbers outside of London are falling. There are wide regional variations, but the overall picture is one of slow decline. This is happening for a variety of reasons. However, a recent trip highlighted the problem for me.

While visiting friends in Birmingham we stayed in Moseley which is towards the south of the city and not far from the centre. In the morning I asked the obvious question: “How do you get into the city centre?” “Well, there is a bus at the top of the road. However, it costs around £4 there and back. You can park for less than that so we usually drive.”

We all make transport decisions based on cost and convenience. We make very fine decisions on what suits us. Even if you made the bus free how many more people would take it? Having paid for a car the nudge into using the bus is going to be difficult for many. Outside of central London this is really difficult.

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