Fewer people are using buses in London because traffic jams are getting worse.
Passenger numbers fell three per cent in the year up to March - the
first time they have decreased since 212 - with a total of 2.29 billion
journeys made, according to Department of Transport figures.
Transport for London said increased congestion and road works were increasing the average length of bus journey times, pushing people towards other forms of transport.
Gareth Powell, TfL’s Director of Strategy for Surface Transport,
said: “We saw a small reduction in the number of people travelling on
buses last year due to congestion caused by major commercial development
across the city.”
He also cited “internet delivery traffic” and “extensive work to improve road safety” among reasons for increased congestion.
But he added: “Bus network reliability has now stabilised. The
completion of a number of major road projects and the introduction of
the Hopper fare on buses are expected to have a positive effect on
Andrew Allen, a policy analyst for Campaign for Better Transport, said the annual report held “no surprises".
He said: “London buses were at one stage the shining light in the
whole country. As bus use in the rest of the UK declined London buses
were on the up, but then in the last couple of years there has been a
decline in usage.
“The main argument for why this is happening is that there is more
congestion on the road making the bus a less attractive option; often
it’s easier to walk.
"Then with the introduction of Uber there have been other more attractive options.”
Mr Allen said that major road infrastructure projects such as plans
to build the Silvertown tunnel have also slowed down London traffic.
He said the issue of relieving London congestion was “certainly not a
simple one to resolve” but stressed the importance of giving more road
space to buses, especially in outer London.
Before 2012, bus use in London had increased every year since 1998