Transport Select Committee: The Health of the Bus Market

Transport Select Committee: The Health of the Bus Market

In her evidence at the recent Transport Select Committee meeting, Claire Walters described the current Health of the Bus Market as “a postcode lottery: marvellous in some places, non-existent in others”.

During the session Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users UK, raised the need for clear policy guidance to underpin buses as the priority for urban centres, and a socially necessary requirement for all communities. She called for funding for bus priority measures and an end to car-dependency in order to tackle the problem of air quality.

Barriers to travel were another key issue and included accessibility in all is forms, punctuality (a problem growing in line with increasing congestion), and cashless buses which are inaccessible to many people including tourists and those without bank accounts.  Claire also highlighted the ‘toxic’ problems of rural and urban isolation and pointed to the recent Loneliness research from Greener Journeys which showed the importance of bus journeys on people’s lives and community wellbeing.

In welcoming a national bus strategy, Claire suggested that Transport policy, like Equalities, should be a requirement of all departments rather than disconnected from services like education, employment and housing as is currently the case. She also called for an end-to-end transport review including the last mile, rather than a separate bus policy and rail review. This, she argued, should include infrastructure requirements and accessibility as key considerations.

And while the need for greater funding for buses remains critical, Claire suggested that funding alone is not enough. Priority for buses and congestion busting initiatives are all required in order to improve the health of the bus market.

Watch the session in full

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