As ever, there are many challenges facing the industry at present. And for the bus sector looking beyond the current situation, one of those challenges will be getting people, in particular commuters, back on board. An even bigger challenge will be attracting new passengers, essential if we are to hit those net zero targets.
Although the perception of public transport is mainly positive, active numbers remain low. Bus use in London so far this year is at 70% of pre-pandemic levels, falling to 61% outside of London. There are concerns, currently being voiced in some big cities, that there may have been a permanent shift to the car.
The Government’s National Bus Strategy is steadily being rolled out, but much of the focus is on supply side issues, particularly around decarbonisation. While necessary and welcome, it remains to be seen what direct impact it will have on ridership.