The number of bus services drops in Birmingham the West Midlands to all time low, new data shows

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The Department for Transport data shows that the number of bus and coach services in the West Midlands has slumped to an all time low

Campaigners are urging the Government to work with local authorities and bus operators to expand and improve bus services.

The call comes as new data shows the number of services has dropped to an all time low in the West Midlands.

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Department for Transport figures show 5,078 buses and coaches were licensed in the West Midlands at the end of 2023. This was down from 5,241 the year before, and represented a significant fall of 40% since 2014 - slumping to the lowest figure of any year over the last 10 years.

It comes as fewer buses were licensed across the UK at the end of last year than in any year since 2014. Some 141,300 buses and coaches were registered across the UK at the end of last year, a 16% decline from nine years prior - a rate of decline much less than the West Midlands.

Birmingham busesBirmingham buses
Birmingham buses | PA

Silviya Barrett, director of policy and campaigns at the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "Schemes such as the £2 bus fare cap have helped to boost bus passenger numbers, but they are no substitute for long-term funding, and these figures show we still have a way to go to halt the vicious cycle of bus cuts.

"The Government must do more to support all local authorities so they can work with bus operators to run quality services and expand provision for the millions of people who rely on buses every day."

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The Bus Users campaign group said losing bus services leaves people "without vital access to education, healthcare, employment, friends and family". Chief executive Claire Walter said: "Funding for bus services is an investment that boosts local economies, reduces congestion and pollution, and improves health and wellbeing. We need ongoing, ring-fenced funding to protect these lifeline services for the future."

Rod Dennis, spokesperson for the RAC, said the fall is "disappointing at a time when so much public money is being spent on trying to make bus travel more attractive". He added: "It’s little wonder then that so many people are as dependent on their cars as they are."

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