Bus Journeys Decrease As Car Journeys Increase

By BethPH Last edited 55 months ago
Bus Journeys Decrease As Car Journeys Increase

ouchThe number of bus journeys taken in London has gone down while car journeys have gone up, according to figures released by the Department of Transport (DoT).

After a steady decline in car ownership in the capital, it appears that some people are once again turning to their own wheels. But why? Green Party AM Darren Johnson believes it's down to increased fares.  As more Londoners face benefit caps and increased housing costs, it's not that much of a surprise that people are being forced to count the cost of travel to work. Johnson said:

"The Mayor needs to reduce fares and discourage driving. To ensure the successes in London aren’t reversed we need to be looking at increasing the cost of driving a car and decreasing the cost of public transport."

Bus fares went up 5p from £1.35 to £1.40 for a single journey at the start of this year and given the year-on-year increases in transport fares across the board, it's probably safe to assume an increase for 2014 as well.

Despite the fall in London's bus journeys and much like house prices, the capital's figures skew the national stats somewhat — the Guardian's datablog shows London has a higher number of bus journeys than anywhere else in the country. It's a pretty big difference too, with 279 local bus journeys for every resident in London compared to an average of 51 in the rest of England. TfL managing director of surface transport Leon Daniels responded to Johnson's comment:

“We carried fewer bus passengers last year due to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and because there were three less working days than the year before.

“The reality is London’s bus network is more popular than it has been since the 1960s. In the first quarter of this year we carried two million passengers more than we expected, and 11 million more than in the same period last year.”

Although Helen commenting on MayorWatch points out a discrepancy in TfL's explanation for fewer bus journeys.

While we don't take the view that all car usage should be banned in London or otherwise made totally inaccessible, surely the idea is that public transport should be the most economical option? And with the end of cash fares on buses looking likely, will more people be discouraged from using buses?

If you're a bus passenger, you can share your views with the London Assembly using this survey.

See our series on intriguingly-named London bus stops.

Photo by Lanre Makele in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 25 September 2013

Stu From Saturday

People use buses less because people on buses in London are sickeningly ill-mannered.
I'm not just talking giving seats up for pregnant ladies or the elderly, I'm talking queue-jumping, physical pushing to get on, ignorance in not moving down the bus to let other people on, impatience in wanting to get off ABSOLUTELY AS SOON AS THE DOORS OPEN, idiots with rucksacks on their backs turning round bashing others, noisy inane phonecalls, stinky food - basically an absolute and utter disregard for their fellow human being. It's a hellish effort even attempting the shortest of journeys nowadays.

And don't even start me on the drivers.


pesky public eh? who wantspublic transport clogged up with publics?

Speaking as someone who uses public transport every day - what a lot of rot, Stu. You sound like you hate humanity. What better way to express your distaste for everyone else than by buying yourself a gas guzzling car to clg up the roads and further prevent buses from getting to where they need to go.


Completely agree with Stu, bus travel in London is a joyless experience, rude people barking down phones, queue jumping, playing music on the upper deck, buses full of litter rolling down the stairs. Don't have a problem with the drivers it is the passengers who are absolute animals, very tempted to start using the car again.


Stu and Pete: either you've been incredibly unlucky with your bus journeys to date, or you're ramping up some of the annoying things that happen on bus journeys ad infinitum to prove a spurious point. Hmmm. I for one get annoyed at the same things when they happen, but I can count the number of "hellish journeys" on one hand after 5 years in London.

Ronnie Routemaster

Try living outside London and then you'll know how expensive bus fares are. Londoners have it easy - cheap fares, frequent, weekend and evening services - stuff people outside London would love.