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July 17 2018
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

MPs start inquiry into
‘health of the bus market’

Transport Committee Chairman Lilian Greenwood MP

The Transport Committee is starting a “wide-ranging” inquiry into the bus market in England outside London. 

It is calling for written evidence from the industry and other parties to be submitted by 24 September, after when public hearings will take place.

MPs will consider the reliability of bus services, how they are run in metro-mayor, other metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, how bus services are financed and examples of innovation and best practice. 

The Committee is particularly interested to receive evidence on: 

- The effectiveness and ambition of the Department for Transport’s policies on buses

- Factors affecting bus use, including the reliability of the bus service, congestion and the ways bus companies are dealing with congestion, and the effectiveness of bus priority measures

- The provision of services to isolated communities in rural and urban areas, and the reliance of particular communities and groups of people on bus services

- The viability and long-term sustainability of bus services, including the effectiveness of funding, fare structures and public grants

- Regulations affecting the provision of bus services and the adequacy of guidance to operators and local authorities. 

Transport Committee Chairman Lilian Greenwood MP says: “There are a number of reasons for the sharp decline in bus use in England outside London over the past 25 years. Congestion, car ownership, an increase in online shopping, and reductions in local authority subsidies all play a part. 

“Our inquiry seeks to gather evidence about the health and future of the bus market.  

“We will look at operational factors including the impact of congestion and reliability. We’ll be asking about the most effective models for bus companies. The financing of buses, investment in services and value for money and progress since the Bus Services Act 2017 in metro and non-metro areas will all come under consideration. 

“Buses are a vital lifeline in many communities but with funding streams falling and fares rising, their availability and attractiveness to the travelling public is under threat. A successful bus market can cut congestion, reduce social isolation, help the environment and offer a variety of economic benefits. I would encourage anyone with insight into this sector to submit evidence.” 

Details at

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