Bus priority works for
Business needs the bus. More people travel to work by bus than all other forms of public transport combined. There are 2.5 million regular bus commuters. A further one million people travel to work by bus as the need arises. Over 50% of businesses surveyed considered that the bus had a role in recruitment and retention. Twenty per cent of the full time employed and 30% of part time employed are frequent bus users. In our busiest and most congested urban areas the percentages are even higher. And because buses are an efficient way of moving large numbers of people when road space is at a premium, they also cut congestion for all road users. That means easier deliveries, more efficient freight transport and better travelling conditions for other road users as well.
Buses are crucial to the UK retail sector. A third of city centre visitors made their most recent trip by bus. Those bus users spend an average of £54 per city centre trip and make up 29% of all city centre spending. Thirty per cent of shoppers rely on the bus as they have not got access to a car or van. With 1.4 billion shopping trips per year and an average spend of £29.66, this gives a total estimated retail spend by bus users of £22bn in town and city centres.
Buses get young people into education and training, prevent older people from feeling isolated and make it easier for the unemployed to find jobs and then get to work. They also provide direct employment for local people. In addition, buses provide access to healthcare, and for those without access to a car the bus is a lifeline. All of which leads to big savings in social and financial costs to society as a whole. For example, over 50% of students over 16 are frequent bus users. If they could no longer travel to their places of education or training by bus, 12% would have to miss sessions and 6% would be forced to look for another less suitable course.
Buses have a key role to play in facilitating economic growth at national and local levels. They provide essential access to labour markets, businesses and education and training; are crucial to congestion reduction on key corridors (congestion costs urban economies £11bn per year); stimulate investment and regeneration; and provide vital support to local businesses and retail economies.