Telford bus usage sees one of biggest drops in England

Telford & Wrekin is one of the areas in England which has seen the biggest percentage fall in bus use in the last two years, figures have revealed.

Telford bus usage sees one of biggest drops in England

They show that passenger journeys have fallen per head of population from 28.8 in 2014-15 to 26.4 in 2015-16.

In Shropshire, figures have fallen from 16.2 in to 15.9 in the same period.

It comes as bus use across England has fallen to its lowest for a decade. Official statistics show passengers made 119 million fewer journeys in 2015-16 than the year before, a fall of 2.6 per cent.

London also recorded its first drop in bus use since 2012 as congestion increased.

Campaigners have blamed congestion in the capital, which they said has slowed the pace of buses to almost walking speed, for the decline.

The Department for Transport said a drop in bus mileage was "largely due" to a fall in the number of services subsidised by councils.

Simon Jones, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We're currently considering the reported figures for bus use in Shropshire and it's therefore too early to say if the figures are accurate, or to comment on possible reasons for any reported fall in usage. However, we encourage people to travel by bus whenever possible, as this offers a number of benefits. Bus travel reduces congestion on our roads, saves people money and is better for the environment."

Using the bus can be cheaper than filling up the car with fuel, is a more relaxing way to travel, and also reduces your carbon footprint."

Bus fares had increased 1.8 per cent but the DfT said this was "similar" to other price rises in line with the 1.6 per cent Retail Price Index of inflation.

There were 4.5 billion journeys made by bus in England in 2015-16, the lowest figure since 2006. In the capital, bus usage was down three per cent in a year, to 2.29 billion journeys. A DfT spokesman said: "We provide some £250 million a year to support bus services in England and about £1 billion is spent annually to give nearly 10 million older and disabled people in England off-peak bus travel."

Research by the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has found subsidies for bus routes had been reduced by £78 million since 2010, leading to cuts in services.

Lianna Etkind, public transport campaigner at the CBT, said: "The news that bus use is falling in London is worrying, as buses are now moving only marginally faster through the city than the average adult can walk Congestion is bringing London to a standstill and needs to be urgently tackled."

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