Transport for London and Mayor Boris Johnson have welcomed figures showing bus ridership in the capital remains at an all time high.
Last year London’s buses carried more than 2.3 billion passengers and travelled 490 million kilometres, both measures were up on the previous year.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director Surface Transport said: “TfL is investing a lot of resources to continue to improve London’s bus network while making it accessible to everyone. This is vital if we want to see continued growth.
“The latest figures show that investment is paying off with more and more people using London’s bus service. Buses are hugely efficient users of road space and inexpensive to use and that has to be good for Londoners.”
Mayor Boris Johnson added: “Not only do millions of people rely on London’s iconic red buses every day, but they are also a central feature of this great city’s identity.
“Now joined by the beautiful and immensely popular Routemaster-inspired new bus for London, and with the 2012 Games just around the corner, they have a central role to play both for the millions of extra visitors over the coming weeks, and for the Londoners who value them so dearly on a day-to-day basis.”
TfL say bus ridership is “60 per cent higher than in 2000” however statistics show much of the growth was achieved in the organisation’s first eight years of existence.
According to TfL’s own figures, between 2001/02 and 2007/08 the number of kilometres operated rose from 373m to 468m, an increase of 95m. In the same period passenger journeys rose from 1.43bn to 2.18bn, an increase of .75bn.
Since 2008/9 those metrics have increased to 490m kilometres (up 22m) and 2.34 billion journeys (up .16bn).
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of City Hall’s Liberal Democrat group, said: “The latest figures of growing bus usage certainly don’t match the increases seen eight or nine years ago. However instead of spending too much time deciding who should take credit for past increases in bus usage we should instead concentrate on how we cope with increased bus usage in the years ahead, especially with London’s growing population.
“Bus overcrowding is already a reality for hundreds of thousands of people every day. It is time the issue of ncreasing capacity on bus routes received far more attention from the Mayor and TfL.”
Satisfaction among bus passengers remains flat at 80%, the same level as in 2010/11 and 2007/08. In both years satisfaction rose slightly from 79% in the previous year.
In 2002/03 satisfaction was 76.0% and has never exceeded 80% suggesting TfL is failing to address the concerns of a significant number of bus users.