Delivering change — improving urban bus transport

Buses are critical urban infrastructure but they are in decline in most major cities outside London.

Report published on 13 November 2019 by Simon Jeffrey

Buses are critical urban infrastructure. But the number of journeys made on them has declined in almost all cities apart from London for the past few decades.

This report cites deregulation as the cause of this decline and sets out how cities can use bus franchising to support economic growth, reduce congestion and improve air quality.

It calls for all metro mayors to begin the process of bringing local bus networks under their control and urges the Government to provide them with the additional tools to support them in doing this.

What needs to change

  • Every metro mayor should take up the powers in the Bus Services Act to franchise buses now.
  • Government should provide a £50 million fund for metro mayors to prepare the assessment for franchising. This equates to just £4.50 per person in these cities, around the cost of a single day’s bus travel in every metro mayor area.
  • All cities should be given the power to franchise bus services, not just metro mayors.

This Centre for Cities report was sponsored by bus operator Abellio and supported by, Metroline, and Tower Transit.

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