Bus passenger journeys in Britain

1 April 2014

Article by Andrew Minnis, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Department for Transport (DfT) publishes quarterly bus statistics which provide estimates of the number of local bus passenger journeys as well as fares across Britain. It provides the most up to date statistics for monitoring key trends in the local bus sector.

The most recent statistical release covers quarter 4 (October to December) 2013 and was published on 11 March 2014. While the release itself primarily relates to England, the statistical tables cover the whole of Great Britain, including figures for Wales and Scotland. Table 1 below summarises the latest quarterly and rolling annual local bus passenger and fares figures.

Table 1: Quarterly and rolling annual local bus passenger journeys and fares (quarter 4 2013) (Source: DfT)


Detailed statistical figures are available from the DfT Bus Statistics Series (passenger numbers are in BUS01 and the bus fares index in BUS04)

Using DfT figures for passenger journeys on local bus services by metropolitan area status and country for Great Britain as a whole (quarterly from 2004-05) research service has produced a chart showing British passenger on local bus services by country as an index to allow trends to be compared between countries. This is presented in chart 1 below.


Notes to table 1 and chart 1:

  • Figures for individual quarters should be interpreted with caution, as they can be affected by sustained periods of bad weather or the timing of public holidays.
  • Data for local bus passenger journeys are estimates based on a quarterly panel of the 18 largest non-metropolitan operators, Passenger Transport Executives (for metropolitan areas) and Transport for London (TfL).
  • Quarterly figures are less precise than the annual statistics which aim to report on all journeys, including those made with smaller operators.
  • The quarterly bus fares index is based on a sample survey of around 100 bus operators and TfL, who supply data each quarter.
  • The index in Chart 1 is based on 2004/05 to ensure figures are consistent following a change in methodology that was applied by DfT in that year.
  • Full notes on data sources, strengths and weaknesses can be found on page 4 of the statistical release (see the link above).
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