In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, much of the UK’s commuter coach market has disappeared. DAVID JENKINS investigates

Commuter coach stop at Canary Wharf, with no less than 12 individually identifi ed routes, plus a generic ‘Kings Ferry’ to represent all of its services.
: How it used to be. Eastern National 4510 (D510 PPU) was purchased in the dying days of the National Bus Company in 1986. The Leyland Olympian ONTL11/2RHSp with ECW CH45/28F coachwork is crossing Lambeth Bridge in central London, working the 192 two-journeys-each way commuter service to Chelmsford. The route was still running in 1994, but disappeared thereafter. Eastern National bought 13 coach Olympians altogether.
A Redwing (then trading as Reliance) Beulas Cygnusbodied Irisbus 397E.12.45 picks up passengers for the Gravesend area at Tower Hill, before a cycle super highway was installed and reduced the number of traffic lanes from three to two at this location.
Competing commuter coach stop flags in the Rainham area of the Medway Towns.

The Covid pandemic has wrought unprecedented changes on the public transport network. Official government statistics show that at its lowest level, demand for buses fell to just 10% of normal at one point, and bumped along at not much more than that for several weeks in spring 2020. It is fortunate that the governments of the UK realised that a minimum level of bus service was necessary to keep key workers moving, and each has provided enormousamounts of funding to ensure essential routes kept running.

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