Bus passenger numbers in London and the rest of England are now regularly reaching 60% of normal levels, according to the latest Department for Transport figures.
On some days in late April, levels in the rest of England were slightly outstripping numbers travelling in London, a situation not seen since mid-March 2020.
The boost is largely attributable to the reopening of most English shops on April 12, which has prompted more operators to return to normal service levels. Some operators were reporting a re-appearance of the more familiar morning and afternoon peaks, although at Trent Barton, most routes remain busier during shopping hours than at other times. National Express West Midlands continues to have more buses out in service than normal, together with spare buses to provide duplicates on busy journeys.
Further increases in passenger numbers are now hampered by social distancing requirements, with the nominal capacity of most double-deckers still being in the low 30s. As Buses closed for press, the government was hinting that social distancing in England would be significantly relaxed from mid-June. However, that in turn could herald a reduction in the Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) which has been paid to operators to keep services running during the pandemic.