New figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows the market still continuing to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The second quarter of 2021 has shown some clear improvement, with a 231.1% bounce in registrations. The market, however, is still declining in volume, leading to industry insiders calling for government planning.
Calls for Longer-Term Government Planning to Address Depleting Ridership Across UK
With some cause for optimism, the UK market increased by 231.1% in the second quarter of 2021, compared with 2020, with a total of 1,086 new registrations. However, compared with 2019, this is a noticeable decline of -24.2% or 347 units. Likewise, compared with the first half of 2020, 2021 saw a 3.6% fall, with 1,668 vehicles registered representing only half the pre-pandemic average. The market is still relatively subdued due to the industry struggling with declining passenger numbers. This has led to a halving of bus and coach registrations within the past five years.
Explaining the market uncertainty, Mike Hawes, SMMT, Chief Executive said: "Though any improvement on last year’s decimated figures is welcome, the growth in quarter two still belies a first-half market which is down on a Covid-riven 2020. The bus and coach sector is still experiencing the effects of the pandemic with passenger numbers remaining low, undermining operator willingness to place new orders. The Government’s ‘Bus Back Better’ strategy, published in March, has yet to deliver the promised investment which is essential to the future of this sector. Almost two years ago the Government pledged to invest in 4,000 new zero-emission buses. Manufacturers are ready, willing and able to build these here in the UK, but need to see that funding flow through to operators, orders placed and a return to the ridership numbers seen prior to the pandemic."