Monday 10 November 2014

Bus Funding delivers up to £3.50 of economic benefits for every £1 spent

• New research for Greener Journeys by KPMG LLP shows bus funding delivers up to £3.50 of economic benefits for every £1 spent
• Government funding for buses keeps fares lower and boosts the economy and communities – particularly helping the 77% of jobseekers who have no car access and those on lower incomes.

• Research demonstrates subsidy of buses must continue in order to deliver value for taxpayers and passengers – further cuts will intensify pressure to increase fares and reduce services
New analysis for Greener Journeys – the campaign to promote sustainable travel – shows the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) delivers significant benefits to bus passengers, as well as other road users and wider communities, through improvements to economic productivity, social inclusion, sustainability and health.
BSOG is currently under review by the Department for Transport (DfT), who are considering a number of options for reform of the scheme. In 2012 funding for BSOG was cut by 20%2.

A new cost-benefit analysis by KPMG LLP reveals the scheme generates between £2.50 and £3.50 in benefits for each £1 spent, high value for money according to official DfT guidance.
The research builds on a series of recent Greener Journeys studies that underline the significant economic and social value of the bus to the UK, including:
• A landmark report published in July 2014, Buses and the Economy II (conducted by the University of Leeds for Greener Journeys in partnership with the DfT3) which revealed the significant relationship between accessibility by bus and employment and found jobseekers are heavily dependent on buses, with 77% having no access to a car, van or motorbike4.
• Greener Journeys research published in June 2014 which showed investment in bus related infrastructure and priority measures generated £3.32 of social, economic and environmental benefits for each £1 spent5.
This new report revealed significant benefits arising from bus funding including:
• Reduced fares and improved bus services – bus users are significantly better off due to fare reductions and service improvements enabled by BSOG. Given the demographic profile of bus users, this has considerably larger impact on those on low or moderate incomes.
• Better community linkage and lower congestion – more communities are able to support a viable bus service, and with more people taking buses traffic congestion is reduced. BSOG also contributes to improved air quality and a reduced risk of traffic related accidents.
• Improved connectivity – BSOG makes it easier for people to access jobs and for those eligible for concessionary travel to volunteer in their communities.
• Positive impact on health and wellbeing – the increased use of public transport driven by BSOG means more people lead more active lifestyles with benefits for their health.

The analysis found lower fares and higher service levels for bus passengers made up 70% of BSOG’s overall benefits, with 24% representing wider positive economic, social and health impacts and 6% improvements to the wider transport network.
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys commented: “These findings clearly show Government funding for buses has a hugely positive overall impact on Britain. Any attempts to reform the Bus Service Operators Grant must not risk or reduce the £3.50 of benefits the scheme generates for every £1 spent. Over recent years our research has time and again shown just how crucial buses are to helping people into work, driving economic growth in Britain’s towns and cities and to building cohesive and prosperous communities.

“In recent years the squeeze on public sector spending has led to a reduction in government support for bus services, including cuts to BSOG and socially necessary supported services. Any further cuts would have serious implications for fares and services, with, as this research clearly shows, significant knock-on effects for the economy, our society and the environment.”