Bus use in England fell sharply during the four-week November lockdown, reversing gains in ridership made over the summer. Department for Transport figures show a fall from 60% of pre-pandemic levels to around 45 to 50%, except at weekends when they dropped to one-third. They were a little higher in London.
This is borne out by the Ten Per Cent Club of PLC, municipal and independent operators’ managers, whose members experienced a fall in fare-paying passengers on commercial services from 60% in September and October to 51% in November.
While fare paying passenger numbers on their tendered services rose from 43% of precrisis levels in September to 50% in October, they fell to 44% in November. Concessionary passholders fell from 44% on commercial routes in October to 36% in November, but held steady at 41% on tendered routes. ‘That reflects the valued nature of such routes for the small numbers using them,’ it says.
While most operators maintained timetables during the latest lockdown, Midland Classic suspended some of its Burton-based routes on Saturdays and reduced frequencies on others. National Express West Midlands adjusted some running times, but continued to run around 103% of normal mileage, with other group companies’ coaches covering some of the additional work.