The UK bus and coach market shrunk by -22.1% in the third quarter of this year, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). As regional lockdowns were reintroduced across the UK in autumn, coronavirus continued to affect road passenger transport, with declining bus ridership impacting operator confidence and orders.
Bus and Coach Market Takes Downturn
Although Q3 saw the same number of double-deck buses and coaches registered as last year, the overall decline was driven by a stoppered demand for minibus and single-deck vehicles, down -24.7% and -30.7% respectively.
Lockdown and social distancing measures across the UK have continued to affect demand for road passenger transport, resulting in a year to date shortfall of some 1,210 units, down to 2,775 vehicles. Registrations for single-deck buses and coaches have fared the worst, down -60.5% on this time last year. Bus usage is still down by more than 50% since Covid-related restrictions were first implemented in mid-March, equivalent to some 524 million fewer passenger journeys.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The ongoing impact of coronavirus on bus ridership has resulted in another difficult quarter for the suffering bus and coach sector. If we are to see more of the latest, greenest passenger vehicles join British roads and ensure we have a public transport system fit for the future, we need to rebuild operators’ confidence and ability to invest in their fleets. This must start with the delivery of promised government funding for buses earlier in the year.”