The Decline in Bus Services in English PTE Areas: The Quest for a Solution

31 August 2006
By James Grayburn et al.

Twenty years of bus deregulation in the UK have resulted in declines in public transport use, poorer services, and increased fares. Since bus services were deregulated in 1986, bus usage has declined by half in Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) areas and fares have increased by 86 percent in real terms. In this report for pteg, a group representing six PTEs, a NERA team examines the future prospects for bus services in English PTE areas as well as the various factors that have led to an overall decline. The authors analyze the alternative policies currently available to curtail this decline and contribute to overall government efforts toward increasing the use of buses in England. They also consider the impact of not implementing a new approach and conclude that, without a significant policy change, over the next ten years service levels in PTE areas will fall by around 20 percent, fares will rise by about 20 percent in real terms, and patronage will fall by 20 percent.