Buses drive jobs and economic prosperity reveals landmark report

Greener Journeys
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  • Jobseekers are heavily dependent on buses, with 77% having no regular access to a car, van, or motorcycle
  • A 10% reduction in bus journey times would mean 50,000 more people in work
  • Buses are crucial to the prosperity of city centres, with bus users making up 29% of all city centre spending
  • Analysis by KPMG shows bus priority measures produce an average of £3.32 of economic benefits for every £1 spent

A new landmark research report for Greener Journeys – the campaign to promote sustainable travel – developed in partnership with the Department for Transport, shows the crucial role played by the bus in driving jobs and economic prosperity.

The research, Buses and the Economy II, conducted by the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, investigates the link between bus services and the wider economy. Key focuses include: how buses provide vital access to jobs; how buses facilitate access to shopping and leisure facilities, especially in town and city centres; and how buses play a crucial role as a form of social insurance fall back.

The publication of the research comes as further new research for Greener Journeys, conducted by KPMG LLP, demonstrates the potential of the bus to bring economic growth. The research found bus priority measures will typically generate £3.32 of net economic benefit for each £1 of costs incurred, with further benefits in social welfare and public health. This level of return represents high value for money according to the Department for Transport’s appraisal guidance.

With five billion bus journeys made each year, buses make up more than three times the number of rail journeys. However, cuts by local authorities to spending on buses, the threat of removal of bus lanes and a renewed focus on car priority measures continues to put pressure on bus services. This report brings into sharp focus that if bus services suffer, local businesses, local economies and local communities are likely to suffer too.

Key findings arising from the research include:

A strong relationship between bus accessibility and employment, in addition to a high level of dependence on buses amongst jobseekers:

  • If bus journey times for commuters in England could be improved by 10%, this would be associated with over 50,000 more people in employment
  • Those currently unemployed are more dependent on buses than the population at large for potential access to work. Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) reported they took the bus to work when employed, a figure which rose to over 7 in 10 (72%) for those without car availability
  • Well over half (57%) of jobseekers don’t have a full car or motorcycle driving licence, with nearly 8 in 10 (77%) having no regular access to a car, van, or motorcycle. This rose to 87% for 18-24 year olds

Clear evidence that buses are key facilitators of vibrant town and city centres, and of a strong retail and entertainment sector:

  • One third more people use the bus to get into our cities than any other form of transport, bringing billions of pounds into city centres
  • Bus users make up 29% of all city centre spending and spend an average £54 per city centre trip
  • Bus users contribute almost a quarter (22%) of all expenditure on non-food and entertainment
  • 3 in 10 (30%) of shoppers rely on the bus as they have no access to a car or van, with a further 6% having only infrequent access

Confirmation that people place significant value on having the option of a bus available, whether they use it or not:

  • People are willing to pay over and above their fares to have a bus service available to them whether they use it or not (even if they have a car) – a gross option value of £700 million
  • In a study of 200 householders living in small market towns the average option value of having a bus service available was placed at £122 per household per annum

The new research follows-on from Buses and Economic Growth, published in 2012, which outlined how bus travel is a key contributor to economic well-being, with more people travelling to work by bus than all other forms of public transport combined and bus users generating £64 billion of economic output each and every year.

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys says:
“Transport is about much more than getting from a to b. What is crucial is what that movement facilitates in our economy, our society, and our lives. The role of transport in bringing about economic and social prosperity is often significantly underestimated.

“This report is a key breakthrough in demonstrating just how important the bus is in creating and underpinning jobs and growth. We hope decision makers take notice of original ideas such as our proposal for a Bus Bonus scheme – which would help commuters with bus commuting costs – as well as how they can improve reliability and resilience of local transport networks, to harness the full potential of the bus clearly outlined in this report.”

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said:
“Buses are the workhorse of the public transport sector, with millions of journeys taken every day. They cut carbon, congestion and drive economic growth. This research is a welcome further contribution to the evidence underpinning the importance of buses to people and to the economy.”

Professor Peter Mackie and Daniel Johnson, co-authors of the report from the Institute of Transport Studies from the University of Leeds, add:

“The bus is often underestimated as a mode of transport but our research over the last 3 years has clearly outlined how they drive economic growth, job creation and social cohesion. It is important to recognise the vital role they play in the functioning of a successful transport network and wider economy.”

-ENDS-

For further information contact:

Greener Journeys Press Office
press@greenerjourneys.com
+44 (0)20 3128 8555

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

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 includingTransport 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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