Bus holds key to getting Britain’s youth back to work and delivering economic growth

Greener Journeys
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New research for Greener Journeys – the campaign to promote sustainable travel –reveals almost a quarter of unemployed young people have missed out on job opportunities because there is no bus to take them to work, while four-fifths are strongly reliant on public transport.

  • Greener Journeys calls for an apprentice bus travel scheme, new tax incentives and specific bus priority measures to begin to tackle the problem and wider social issues
  • Proposals would cut youth unemployment and deliver a £1.4 billion boost to the UK economy
  • Wider economic benefits would be nine times the £150 million investment cost

Buses could help cut youth unemployment and deliver a £1.4 billion boost to the UK economy under proposals contained in a new report published by Greener Journeys today.

The Government should invest in a package of measures including a concessionary bus travel scheme for apprentices, tax incentives for buying bus season tickets, and support for the expansion of bus priority measures.

The policy proposals are included in the Bus 2020: A Manifesto for the next Parliament published by Greener Journeys. Research shows the £150 million investment cost of the three measures would be paid for nine times over through the resulting economic benefits, with a further £110 million boost in extra jobs and wider labour market benefits.

The call for greater focus on maximising the potential of buses comes as latest figures show that, despite more recent positive economic indicators, youth unemployment remains at more than 20%, with 1.71 million 18-24 year olds economically inactive1.

New Greener Journeys research, conducted by the University of Leeds, reveals that young people are more reliant than any other demographic group on bus services. For the vast majority of unemployed 18-24 years olds the bus is the ONLY form of transport available and they depend on it:

  • 82% of unemployed 18-24 year olds have no access to a car and strongly rely on public transport
  • Almost one quarter (24%) of unemployed 18-24 year olds have been prevented in some way from securing a job because of the lack of a suitable bus service in their area
  • 67% of unemployed 18-24 year olds think they would be less likely to get a job if there was no bus service
  • 34% of unemployed 18-24 year olds indicate that they believe they would be more likely to get a job if there were a more suitable bus service

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys commented:
“Everyone is talking about how the economy is beginning to grow again but some young people are being left behind. We need to give our young people the best chance to get a job and gain valuable experience and qualifications that will ensure they can play a productive part in our economy, both now and in the future. To do that, they need to be able to use affordable public transport.

“Buses must be part of the solution. Buses are the backbone of Britain and every pound invested in buses is an investment in the future of Britain’s communities, high streets and city centres, young people and our future prosperity.

“We urge the Government to implement the proposals put forward in our manifesto to ensure that Britain effectively harnesses the potential of the bus and deliver benefits to all.”

Norman Baker MP, Transport Minister, said:
“The policy proposals put forward in Bus 2020 by Greener Journeys will be a welcomed contribution to the debate.

“Buses enable people of all ages to get to work, particularly young people, who are more reliant than any other demographic on bus services.

“We will continue to work with the bus industry to ensure it remains an affordable and reliable form of transport for the young people of Britain.” 

The key policy proposals from Bus 2020 include:

A concessionary bus travel scheme for apprentices to help reduce unemployment:

  • The scheme would offer a 50% discount on bus fares to apprentices
  • It would cost the Government around £28 million but would deliver £33.4 million in gross benefits
  • Annual net benefits would be worth £6 million and the extra jobs created would be worth £8 million

A new tax incentive – the Bus Bonus – to help get Britain’s people to work and promote a modal shift:

  • The scheme would offer a 34% tax and national insurance saving on season tickets to employees at a workplace with 10 or more staff
  • Employees could buy a season ticket for bus travel before income tax and national insurance were deducted from their salary
  • It would cost the Government £48 million in income tax and national insurance revenue
  • Annual net benefits would be worth £72 million and the extra jobs created would be worth £25 million

Additional Government support for bus lanes and other priority measures should be expanded to help deliver greener growth:

  • The cost of such additional support is estimated at £77.5 million in 2020/21, but would deliver annual gross benefits of £1.4 billion
  • Annual net economic benefits, to users and non-users, are at just over £1.3 billion in 2020/21
  • £75.3 million in wider economic benefits would be created in the labour market in 2020/21


For further information

Greener Journeys Press Office
+44 (0)20 3128 8555

For a copy of the manifesto please contact greenerjourneys@mhpc.com

Notes to editors:

[1] House of Commons Library, Youth unemployment statistics, August 2013.  Accessed online: www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn05871.pdf

Bus 2020: A Manifesto for the next Parliament
The costs or savings for the UK Government stated in Bus 2020 were developed through rigorous independent research by an external provider. Full details of the research and methodology can be found in the Appendix in the report.

The manifesto is supported by the UK’s leading bus companies Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead and Stagecoach.

Why are buses important for UK plc?
2.5 million people across Britain take the bus to work every day, and a further 1 million use it as back up, producing more than £64 billion of economic output a year.

Buses are an essential mode of transport, accounting for over 5 billion passenger journeys every year and are used by one fifth of the country’s working population outside London.  Nearly three times as many trips are made by bus as by surface rail and underground combined.  Moreover, 25% of households do not have access to a car and are completely reliant on the bus for many of their essential journeys.

Buses also provide a cost effective solution to congestion. They are flexible, can deliver extra capacity very quickly, take up less space on the road and, when combined with priority measures such as bus lanes, can reduce delays and improve journey time reliability. Reduced congestion and the resulting improved network speed and reliability has a direct and significant impact on business costs, enabling the logistics systems and supply chains to operate more efficiently and sustainably.

Research data
All figures unless otherwise stated come from the Buses and Economic Growth Part II report, conducted by the University of Leeds. The University of Leeds interviewed 373 unemployed individuals aged between 18 and 24 years old attending Job Centre Plus offices in June-July 2013 at a number of sites in Britain, including Edinburgh, Leeds, Chorlton (Greater Manchester), Norwich and Cardiff. The sample was chosen to reflect the national profile of job seekers in terms of gender and unemployment duration.

About Greener Journeys
Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices.

It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport by encouraging people to switch some of their car journeys to bus or coach instead.  Switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys on our roads and would save 2 million tonnes of CO2 every year.

It is a coalition of Britain’s leading bus companies and other supporters including Transport for London, Campaign for Better Transport, the RAC Foundation, Confederation for Passenger Transport (CPT), and the Passenger Transport Executive Group (pteg).  Its primary funders are bus companies Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead, and Stagecoach. For more information visit www.greenerjourneys.com

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