Transport Authorities and local bus operators across England are currently tasked with identifying sustainable local bus networks which can thrive after the removal of the pandemic related Bus Service Recovery Grant on 4 October 2022.
By that time it is likely that demand on local bus networks will be running at between 85% and 105% of pre pandemic levels dependent on local demographics and the dynamism of individual operators and authorities.
That exercise needs to look forward not back. It should not be about maintaining the maximum of the historic status quo but building toward creating cleaner, healthier, liveable towns and cities no longer choked by congestion and poisonous air from excessive car use through bus networks capable of delivering long term organic growth and modal shift.
It needs to be driven by ambitious and courageous investment, not caution.
If we are to ‘build back better’, those networks need to be a stepping stone to a new normal where the focus is on reducing car dependency and a renaissance in the role of the bus in urban environments.
We need a focus on long term investment, from both the public and private sector, in delivering that new and prosperous future and not a short term fudge to salvage as much as we can from the past.
The recipe for success will vary from area to area depending on demographics, geography and the starting point but there are a wide variety of strategies, tactics and tools to deploy to deliver organic growth on buses.
Just a few of them can be found here ……