The Bus Demand Jigsaw

A 119-page report examining the latest trends in demand for bus services.The cover of the report

The report analyses changes in demand for services in different parts of the country over the period since 2004/05, finding that a complex interplay of demographic, economic and social changes has driven underlying patronage downwards in most areas. The report analyses bus travel by journey purpose, and suggests that shopping trips by bus have fallen by 12% since 2010 and personal business trips by 9%.

A series of graphs in the document seeks to explain changes in bus patronage by changes in a range of factors, using established demand elasticities. Such work can explain both the falls that have occurred in many places and the gains that took place in London up to 2014, reinforcing the view that specific economic and demographic factors have driven demand for buses in London, rather than different regulation.

Looking ahead, the report examines the possible consequences of the Department for Transport's 2015 Road Traffic Forecast, which envisaged substantial growth in car ownership and urban traffic congestion during the period to 2040.

The contents of the report include:

  • The Marketing Mix for Buses
  • Pricing & Revenue, including:
    • Fare Levels
    • Comparative Travel Costs
    • Trends in Bus Revenue
    • Revenue Analysis
  • Demographic Analysis, considering:
    • Population Density
    • Bus Use by Age and Gender
    • Regional Variations in Trip Rates
    • Trip Rates by Type of Area
    • Bus Use by Household Income
    • National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification
  • Competition, including
    • Car Ownership and Use
    • Use of Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles
  • Why People Use Buses
    • Historic Trends in Trip Rates
    • Historic Trends in Passenger Journeys
    • Changes in Shopping Destinations
    • Journeys to Work
  • Five chapters looking at the characteristics of different geogrpahical markets, including:
    • The London Market
    • The PTE Areas
    • The English Shire Counties
    • Scotland
    • Wales
  • Putting the Jigsaw Together - understanding the demand changes that have taken place using elasticities to understand the impact of each influence on demand
  • Looking to the Future, considering future trends, including a look at:
  • The National Road Traffic Forecast
  • Achieving Modal Switch

Altogether, the report contains 52 detailed tables and more than 60 graphs.


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