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

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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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.

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Government proposals to ban CCTV enforcement of parking and implications for buses

January, 2014
On 6th December 2013 the Government issued a consultation document on local government parking strategies. The stated aim of the proposals is to help with the cost of living and to support local shops. In this briefing we concentrate on the CCTV enforcement proposals – and in particular the implications for buses.
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Concessionary Travel: The funding timebomb for PTEs

November, 2012
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme has been highly successful in giving older and disabled people the freedom of free off‐peak bus travel. But the costs of the scheme are rising fast whilst funding is falling. This financial ‘timebomb’ will lead to severe cuts in other frontline transport services unless a sustainable funding solution can be found.
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Policy Futures for Urban Transport - our vision and roadmap

September, 2016

This report sets out our vision for how future UK urban transport policy could unfold in a way that enables the nation’s urban areas to deliver smart and sustainable growth that has far-reaching benefits. It looks at the great strides our city regions have already made and proposes fifteen ways in which national government and transport authorities can work together to create the transport networks urban areas need in order to fully realise their potential.

Horizon scan of implications of technological and social change

November, 2015

This report aims to provide decision makers with a guide to the implications for urban transport of transformative social and technological change and how they can best respond. 

The report (which was produced in collaboration with Arup Foresight) identifies four key overarching trends: 

  • Changes in demographics and lifestyles and the rise of the sharing economy alter mobility choices
  • Urbanisation, climate change and the need to improve air quality put pressure on transport systems
  • Advances in technology and increased digital connectivity make transport infrastructure smarter and more efficient 
  • More powers are devolved to cities and city regions which results in more innovation and leadership in responding to urban challenges in locally appropriate ways

Ticket to Thrive: The role of urban public transport in tackling unemployment

February, 2015

This report reveals the vital role of public transport, and the bus in particular, in enabling people to find and sustain employment. Some 77% of jobseekers in British cities outside London do not have regular access to a car, van or motorbike and can face significant barriers to work as a result. The report finds that these barriers include expensive public transport tickets; poorly connected employment sites; mismatches between working hours and available transport; and limited travel horizons. It recommends seven key policies that could help overcome these obstacles, including: a new funding deal to enable local councils to protect lifeline bus services and connect people to opportunity; more effective powers over bus services for local transport authorities, offering them greater control over where and when buses run and the affordability of fares; a review of the potential for an adequately funded national jobseeker and apprentice travel concession.

Oxford SmartZone

February, 2015

In 2011, the two main bus operators in the city of Oxford introduced an inter-operable smart ticketing system known as the SmartZone. Meanwhile, many other parts of the country have faced significant challenges in attempting to introduce inter-operable smart ticketing in deregulated bus markets. The Oxford system has therefore attracted considerable attention and it has been suggested that it could offer valuable lessons for other areas. This paper explains the context within which the scheme was developed and describes the key features of bus ticketing in the city of Oxford and in its wider travel to work area. The paper then compares the Oxford system with the aspirations of Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs).

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Making the connections: The cross-sector benefits of supporting bus services

July, 2014

The bus is key to achieving 46 policy goals of 12 of the 24 Departments across Whitehall including the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Treasury, Department of Health, Department for Education and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. This report shows how, despite these cross sector benefits, all the main forms of funding for bus services are under severe pressure and sets out how bus funding can be reformed.

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National road and rail networks: draft national policy statement

February, 2014
Response to consultation on the overall policy against which the Secretary of State for Transport will make decisions on applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects on the national road and rail networks.
Consulting body: 
Department for Transport

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National Infrastructure Commission is right to make devolved transport funding for cities a key test for Government’s future infrastructure plan

Monday, May 13, 2019

 

The National Infrastructure Commission’s call for Government to make devolved funding for urban transport to cities a key test of the Government’s forthcoming National Infrastructure Strategy is hugely welcome, says the Urban Transport Group.

South Yorkshire transport chief is new Chair of Urban Transport Group

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Stephen Edwards, the Executive Director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), is the new Chair of the Urban Transport Group.

His appointment follows the end of the two-year term of outgoing Chair Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director at Nexus.

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