Bus use in the capital continues to decline according to official data published by Transport for London, City Hall and the Department for Transport.
London had enjoyed successive years of increasing bus ridership but by 2012 growth had slowed and by 2014 usage was falling, prompting warnings from transport watchdog, London TravelWatch.
The fall continued and in December 2017 a Department for Transport report revealed the number of bus journeys in London had declined by almost 3 times the rate seen elsewhere in England (2.3% versus 0.8%).
While the department’s latest report shows the London drop-off is now less than that seen elsewhere, journey numbers still fell year-on-year by a further 1.3% as of September 2018.
And data published by TfL and City Hall this week shows the decline continued into the final months of the year.
The capital’s transport agency splits the financial year into 13 equal reporting periods and its data confirms that bus usage was lower in each of the 4-week periods reported so far for the 2018/19 financial year than in the equivalent period the year before.
Total journey numbers for the 9 periods, which span 1st April to 8th December 2018, were 1,550.5m, down on the 1,582m reported for the same 9 periods of the 2017/18 financial year.
|Number of Bus Journeys in Millions|
Source: London Datastore
The most recent period, covering 11th November to 8th December, marked a seven year low for the equivalent period in previous years, with 180.4m journeys made. The last time the number of journeys in the same period fell below 180m was in the 2010/11 financial year.
The continuing fall comes despite Mayor Sadiq Khan announcing a multi-million pound package of measures in 2017 aimed at reversing the decline.
London Assembly members and London TravelWatch have recently warned that his and TfL’s plans to scale back or axe dozens of bus routes will only worsen matters.
Last week the watchdog said that the cuts, combined with a further predicted increase in bus journey times, meant it was “easy to see why bus passengers are abandoning their services.”