Weekday bus patronage in Britain outside London grew strongly in September as further educational establishments began the new academic year. As a percentage of pre-COVID-19 usage, that ridership rose from 59% on the first day of the month to a peak of 81% on 28 September, with 13 consecutive weekday returns of 75% or better concluding the period, data published by the Department for Transport has shown.
80% or above was returned on three of the final eight weekdays of September. Weekday usage has caught up with that on Saturdays, but Sundays remain consistently the best performer in terms of the rate of return; each during the month saw 80% or better, culminating on Sunday 26 September, which reached 89%. That was the highest daily percentage since 13 March 2020.
London trails remainder of GB in bus patronage return
In London, where the return rate is measured via a different metric, weekday bus usage settled in the low- to mid-70% range during the second half of September.
The uplift generated by schools and colleges was more modest than elsewhere, with weekday returns no lower than 62% and no higher than 74% for the duration of the month. The rate of weekend patronage in London stayed slightly ahead of that for weekdays.
Concessionary travel grows, Ten Per Cent Club says
Members of industry managers’ group the Ten Per Cent Club saw strong growth in farepayer and concessionary passholder numbers across their commercial and tendered services in September.
The core metric of farepayers on commercial services grew to 78% of pre-COVID-19 figures in the last week of the month, up from 70% at the same time in August. Over the same period, those customers on tendered services rose to 72%, up from 67% a month earlier.
Concessionary passholder usage on both commercial and tendered routes reached 65% in September, the Club says. That was up from 60% and 55% respectively in August.