Bus

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The bus is the UK's main form of public transport. Find out more about how the industry works, the case for investing in bus and what we are doing to make bus services better

Resources

Submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020

September, 2020
This is our submission to HM Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review 2020. In our submission, we call upon the Government to move on from its current 'patch and mend’ approach to closing the COVID-19 funding gap for public transport towards longer-term, secure arrangements. We argue that this should form the basis for wider reforms of the funding and powers of city region transport authorities. In practice, this would mean providing long-term funding packages for local transport similar to those already in place for national rail and roads, as well as upgrading the powers of city region transport authorities so they are more in line with those in London. This would ensure that transport authorities are fully empowered and funded to meet the challenge of a green and just recovery from COVID-19.
Consulting body: 
HM Treasury

The Covid-19 Funding Gap: The Case for Continuing Support for Urban Public Transport

September, 2020

This report, produced by transport consultancy Steer for the Urban Transport Group, warns that the future of local public transport services is at serious risk without continued COVID-19 financial support from Government.

It highlights how Government support allowed public transport to continue during the national lockdown (enabling key workers to travel to and from work) and to provide a more comprehensive service at lower socially distanced vehicle capacity following the end of the lockdown.

But the report paints a stark picture for both bus and light rail systems should this support be withdrawn prematurely.

Building back better on urban transport

September, 2020

As the network of transport authorities serving the largest city regions in England, we worked together to keep the wheels of public transport turning during the lockdown so that key workers could get to where they needed to be.

With the release from national lockdown we have ramped up public transport, and prioritised cycling and walking, to support a green and just recovery.

In this paper we set out how, with the right policy framework from Government, we can meet that challenge.

How bus users spend their journey time

November, 2019

This research - conducted by transport consultancy SYSTRA on behalf of the Urban Transport Group - uncovers valuable insights into how passengers spend their time while travelling by bus, and sets out the implications for future bus design and promotion.

The research was based on surveys of over 1,100 people on two different bus routes in Leeds and Nottingham. The two routes both provide a high frequency service and operate with double decker buses with leather seats, WiFi and USB ports - some of the best on-board facilities available. However, the profile of passengers between the two routes was somewhat different, with passengers in Leeds tending to be older, working or retired, whilst a higher proportion of respondents in Nottingham were students, due to the bus route travelling along the university corridor.

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What scope for boosting bus use? An analysis of the Intrinsic Bus Potential of local authority areas in England

October, 2019

This research, by Transport for Quality of Lifeidentifies the underlying conditions that best predict levels of bus use in local areas. It points to six conditions which, when combined, are used to define the ‘Intrinsic Bus Potential’ (IBP) of a local authority area. These include the Index of Multiple Deprivation, the proportion of students, and rush-hour traffic travel times. 

The report also identifies additional factors which may explain why some areas exceed expectations with higher levels of bus use than predicted, such as a pre-existing culture of bus use, high levels of bus provision, and local factors such as poor rail connectivity.

The research has a number of important implications, including the need for radical change on bus policy to enable more areas to do significantly better on bus patronage. 

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What next for urban transport?

September, 2019

This report - published to coincide with the 2019 Autumn Party Conferences - identifies four urban transport challenges and four solutions needed to overcome them.

It also details what transport authorities need from Government to bring about these changes. 

On launching the report, Stephen Edwards, Chair of the Urban Transport Group and Executive Director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: "There is much more that needs to be done if transport is to contribute effectively to meeting the many challenges that city regions face, from the climate crisis to public health challenges associated with a lack of physical activity. The right policies can help overcome these challenges."

Multi-Operator Ticket Comparison 2019

July, 2019
This document provides comparative analysis of bus operator fares and multi-operator ticket fareas across Urban Transport Group member areas and a range of comparators. This information was collected in June 2019 and was correct at the time of research. Bus fares change regularly and it is likely that some of the fares are out of date, however, this is intended as a snap shot analysis and should be treated as such.
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Bus Fares Research 2019

July, 2019
This briefing provides a summary of bus fares from the main operators across Urban Transport Group member areas. Bus fare information was collected in June 2019 and was correct at the time of research. Bus fares are updated regularly so it is likely that some of the fares have already changes, however, this document is a snap shot analysis and should be treated as such.
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Multi-Operator Ticket Comparison 2019

July, 2019
This document provides comparative analysis of bus operator fares and multi-operator ticket fareas across Urban Transport Group member areas and a range of comparators. This information was collected in June 2019 and was correct at the time of research. Bus fares change regularly and it is likely that some of the fares are out of date, however, this is intended as a snap shot analysis and should be treated as such.
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Bus Fares Research 2019

July, 2019
This briefing provides a summary of bus fares from the main operators across Urban Transport Group member areas. Bus fare information was collected in June 2019 and was correct at the time of research. Bus fares are updated regularly so it is likely that some of the fares have already changes, however, this document is a snap shot analysis and should be treated as such.
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Bus Policy

March, 2018
This updated briefing looks at why buses matter and how bus policy works. It explains the significant challenges facing the sector and how city regions are backing the bus. It also sets out how the 2017 Bus Services Act could help make bus services better.
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Multi-Operator ticket premia EXTERNAL 2016

January, 2017
This document provides comparative analysis of bus operator fares and multi-operator ticket fareas across Urban Transport Group member areas and a range of comparators. This information was collected in October 2016 and was correct at the time of research. Bus fares change regularly and it is likely that some of the fares are out of date, however, this is intended as a snap shot analysis and should be treated as such.
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Bus fare analysis 2016

January, 2017
This briefing provides a summary of bus fares from the main operators across Urban Transport Group member areas. Bus fare information was collected in October 2016 and was correct at the time of research. Bus fares are updated regularly so it is likely that some of the fares have already changes, however, this document is a snap shot analysis and should be treated as such.
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The Covid-19 Funding Gap: The Case for Continuing Support for Urban Public Transport

September, 2020

This report, produced by transport consultancy Steer for the Urban Transport Group, warns that the future of local public transport services is at serious risk without continued COVID-19 financial support from Government.

It highlights how Government support allowed public transport to continue during the national lockdown (enabling key workers to travel to and from work) and to provide a more comprehensive service at lower socially distanced vehicle capacity following the end of the lockdown.

But the report paints a stark picture for both bus and light rail systems should this support be withdrawn prematurely.

Building back better on urban transport

September, 2020

As the network of transport authorities serving the largest city regions in England, we worked together to keep the wheels of public transport turning during the lockdown so that key workers could get to where they needed to be.

With the release from national lockdown we have ramped up public transport, and prioritised cycling and walking, to support a green and just recovery.

In this paper we set out how, with the right policy framework from Government, we can meet that challenge.

How bus users spend their journey time

November, 2019

This research - conducted by transport consultancy SYSTRA on behalf of the Urban Transport Group - uncovers valuable insights into how passengers spend their time while travelling by bus, and sets out the implications for future bus design and promotion.

The research was based on surveys of over 1,100 people on two different bus routes in Leeds and Nottingham. The two routes both provide a high frequency service and operate with double decker buses with leather seats, WiFi and USB ports - some of the best on-board facilities available. However, the profile of passengers between the two routes was somewhat different, with passengers in Leeds tending to be older, working or retired, whilst a higher proportion of respondents in Nottingham were students, due to the bus route travelling along the university corridor.

Topic: 

What scope for boosting bus use? An analysis of the Intrinsic Bus Potential of local authority areas in England

October, 2019

This research, by Transport for Quality of Lifeidentifies the underlying conditions that best predict levels of bus use in local areas. It points to six conditions which, when combined, are used to define the ‘Intrinsic Bus Potential’ (IBP) of a local authority area. These include the Index of Multiple Deprivation, the proportion of students, and rush-hour traffic travel times. 

The report also identifies additional factors which may explain why some areas exceed expectations with higher levels of bus use than predicted, such as a pre-existing culture of bus use, high levels of bus provision, and local factors such as poor rail connectivity.

The research has a number of important implications, including the need for radical change on bus policy to enable more areas to do significantly better on bus patronage. 

Topic: 

What next for urban transport?

September, 2019

This report - published to coincide with the 2019 Autumn Party Conferences - identifies four urban transport challenges and four solutions needed to overcome them.

It also details what transport authorities need from Government to bring about these changes. 

On launching the report, Stephen Edwards, Chair of the Urban Transport Group and Executive Director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: "There is much more that needs to be done if transport is to contribute effectively to meeting the many challenges that city regions face, from the climate crisis to public health challenges associated with a lack of physical activity. The right policies can help overcome these challenges."

Number crunch 2019: Urban transport trends in changing times

June, 2019

We are living in rapidly changing times. Big shifts are taking place in urban transport trends.

Number crunch 2019 is the second in our Number crunch report series and provides an updated overview of the key trends over the last ten years, as well as taking a look at what the new and most recent data is telling us. The report also investigates some new issues – including housing need and social inclusion.

In these changing times, the case for coordinated and integrated transport planning at the city region level is stronger than ever. So is the case for long term funding frameworks for local urban transport rather than stop-start funding as is currently the case.

How people respond to the experience of bus travel and the implications for the future of bus services

May, 2019

This literature review - carried out by SYSTRA for the Urban Transport Group - aims to appraise the existing evidence base on the range of factors that influence how people respond to the experience of bus travel, with a focus on the social-emotional experience of bus travel and on the experiences of different socio-demographic groups.

The review does not aim to act as a ‘to-do’ list to complete in order to improve bus travel experiences. Any learnings taken should acknowledge that the bus services assessed in the literature are often hyper-local and therefore are experienced in a very individual market.

The cross-sector benefits of backing the bus

March, 2019

This report highlights how investing in bus services is key to achieving a wide range of policy objectives across Government. 

The report also finds that the way in which bus services are funded is mired in complexity, with no oversight within Whitehall of how the various funding streams from different Government departments impact on bus services overall.

It also shows that all the main forms of funding for bus services are under severe pressure – in particular those that come indirectly from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government which support bus services that bus companies will not provide on a commercial basis. The report calls for a new ‘Connectivity Fund’ – which would bring together existing bus funding together with funding from other Government Departments into a significantly enhanced and ring-fenced pot for local government to support bus services.

What's driving bus patronage change? An analysis of the evidence base

January, 2019

This report explores a range of factors relevant to bus patronage decline, under the themes of social and economic change; alternatives to the bus; and public attitudes to bus travel.

It finds that changing travel habits as a result of different lifestyles and working patterns, wider demographic and economic shifts, the rise of on-demand services, exemplified by runaway growth in Private Hire Vehicles, are amongst the many background factors affecting patronage.

The report also looks at areas where bus use is high or is growing and seeks to draw some initial conclusions about common denominators.

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The place to be: How transit oriented development can support good growth in the city regions

January, 2019

This report examines ‘transit oriented development’ - the principle of putting public transport front and centre in new residential and commercial developments, with the aim of maximising access by public transport, encouraging walking and cycling, and minimising the need to own and use private cars.

The report suggests that transit oriented development has the potential to meet housing need without undermining the green belt or creating more traffic congestion and sprawl. It also examines other areas where it can deliver wide-ranging benefits, such as to local economies; air quality and carbon emissions; social inclusion, employment and skills; health; and public transport patronage.

The place to be sets out a five point plan on how to realise more building developments which are based around sustainable, public transport and active travel.

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Submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020

September, 2020
This is our submission to HM Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review 2020. In our submission, we call upon the Government to move on from its current 'patch and mend’ approach to closing the COVID-19 funding gap for public transport towards longer-term, secure arrangements. We argue that this should form the basis for wider reforms of the funding and powers of city region transport authorities. In practice, this would mean providing long-term funding packages for local transport similar to those already in place for national rail and roads, as well as upgrading the powers of city region transport authorities so they are more in line with those in London. This would ensure that transport authorities are fully empowered and funded to meet the challenge of a green and just recovery from COVID-19.
Consulting body: 
HM Treasury

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