Transport for London is allocating an extra £20m for bus priority measures to “accelerate” the programme after bus passenger numbers continued to fall.
TfL’s 2017/18 budget assumes that demand will reduce by 2.3% rather than grow by 1.4% as previously expected, following reductions of 5.6% since 2014/15 “because of slower journeys caused by congestion, driven by population growth, major roadworks and improvement schemes”. The document states that average bus speeds have fallen by three per cent over the same period, with some routes experiencing declines of more than 10%, especially in inner and central London.
Bus fares income was £99m lower in 2016/17 than targeted in TfL’s business plan. Mike Brown, TfL commissioner, said that action to attract more people to the bus network would “not happen overnight, but is an important focus for 2017/18”. He said that private hire vehicles and delivery vehicles have contributed to congestion, as well as new construction projects stemming from London’s “continued economic success”. He added that in addition walking and cycling “can offer more predictable options” than the bus in central London.