BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 02 July '18

If you can’t travel by foot, bike or boat, ditch the car this week and try the bus instead

This week, people across the country are being urged to show their support for buses. Hundreds of organisations will come together to demonstrate the vital role their bus plays in their communities at the start of Catch the Bus Week 2018 (02-08 July).

The goal of Catch the Bus Week – spearheaded by Greener Journeys – is to raise awareness of the vast economic, environmental and social benefits of taking the bus. The initiative, now in its sixth year, urges passengers, bus operators and local authorities to work together to encourage the switch from car to bus.

Beating congestion

A new study by Arup has revealed that every £1 invested in local bus infrastructure can deliver more than £8 in wider economic benefits, and 23% of car users could be encouraged to switch to buses if buses were quicker and more reliable.

The study comes at a time when local authorities across the country continue to publish their plans to tackle rising air pollution in their cities, which is causing 50,000 premature deaths a year.

Congestion continues to be a major problem. In the UK’s largest cities it’s 14% worse than it was five years ago, and DfT figures due to be published this week are likely to show traffic volumes continuing to increase.

Traffic speeds in city centres are forecast to fall by almost 5mph from 17mph to an average of 12mph by 2030, and significantly slower in peak hours, according to a recent report by Greener Journeys. Buses are the most effective solution – one double-decker bus can take 75 cars off the road.

Zero emission buses

Greener Journeys has been calling on councils and central government to tackle congestion and target cars and vans, which are the biggest contributors to NOx pollution from road transport. Together they account for 71% of emissions, compared with just 6% for buses and coaches.

TfL aims to have 240 electric buses running on the network next year and for all new double-decker buses to be zero-emissions or hybrid, with every single-deck bus in central London to be zero-emission by the following year.

Investing in buses

Buses carry more commuters than all other forms of public transport combined, helping to generate £64bn per year for local economies. They also keep families close, protect society’s most vulnerable from isolation and connect people in poverty to economic opportunities.

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said buses are ‘the predominant mode of public transport and vital to reducing congestion and air pollution.’

‘We need a long-term investment strategy for bus’, she added. ‘We have them for rail, walking, cycling and roads. It is time to develop a plan that includes our most vital form of transport.’