COMMENTwith ALAN MILLAR
Statistics and anecdotal evidence confirm that bus use is declining across the UK.
The boom in ridership in London has turned into a rate of decline faster than for the rest of England: down 3% in the year to March 2016, against 2.1% in the shire and metropolitan counties.
It also is falling in Oxford, long regarded as a sweet spot for bus travel. When announcing its half-year results to 31 December, Go-Ahead Group revealed a drop in demand there for the first time. Passenger numbers suppressed by ‘retail infrastructure developments in the city centre’ — principally the Westgate shopping centre due to open in October — are blamed, a reminder that bus travel and retail footfall are intertwined. If people choose not to shop — especially in town centres — they will not catch a bus.