Bus journeys drop by 100million in Tyne & Wear since 1990s - transport chiefs hope to tempt passengers back after pandemic

The number of bus journeys in Tyne and Wear has slumped by more than 100million over the last three decades.

A Go North East bus in action
A Go North East bus in action

The latest data showed last year (2019/20) continued a long term downward trend since 1990.

And the decline, a fall from a recorded peak of over 200million every year in the region in the early 1990s, has prompted questions over how the public can be tempted back on to services, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think the bus boarding data continues to be worrying – over 30 years the drop has been quite astonishing,” said Joyce McCarty, deputy leader of Newcastle City Council.

“We need to do something that alters residents’ behaviour, so they’re more willing to use public transport and less willing to use their private vehicles.

“Some of that is in line with what local authorities are trying to do around walking and cycling, but I think our work with bus companies means that hopefully we can support them to deliver better quality services so more people use that part of the transport service.”

McCarty was speaking at a meeting of the North East Joint Transport Committee’s Tyne and Wear Sub Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

According to figures for the panel, Tyne and Wear’s buses saw 116.9million ‘boardings’ during 2019/20.

This was almost 3% less than the year before, with the impact of the pandemic in March thought to account for about half the fall in use.

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