Bus use still below pre-pandemic numbers
The number of bus journeys taken in the North East has fallen by more than 40% over the last decade, new figures show.
Department for Transport figures show passengers took 71.1 million bus journeys in Tyne and Wear in the year to March last year – up from 39.3 million the year before, which was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic – but down significantly on pre-pandemic levels.
In 2019-20, the last full year before the pandemic, Tyne and Wear passengers took 103.9 million journeys, while over the last decade, passenger numbers have dropped by 44%.
In England there were 2.8 billion bus journeys in 2021-22 – down from 4.1 billion in 2019-20.
A decade ago there were 4.6 billion.
The Government last week extended a £2 cap on all bus journeys to June 30, and committed £80m to protect vital bus routes.
The Campaign for Better Transport welcomed the investment but called for long-term funding reform to encourage more people to take the bus.
Paul Tuohy, chief executive of the campaign group, said: "An extension only gets us so far. We are urging the Government to implement long-term funding reform to avoid more uncertainty and give everyone access to affordable and reliable bus services."
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: "Travelling by bus remains the most popular option for commuters but the sector is still trying to recover after the end of the pandemic and we’re providing £155 million to help passengers save money on fares, get more people on the bus and protect vital bus routes.”