27 January 2017
Department of transport annual bus statistics see Leicester plummet down the table, with numbers of bus passenger journeys per head dropping from 106 journeys per person in 2009/10, to 76.3 per person in 2015/16. This 30 point or 28% drop in journeys in Leicester, is the largest in the country. The average fall in bus journeys nationally over the same period is 7%. Nottingham saw a small drop in journeys over the same period, from 162.8 to 149.2 journeys (8%). Several areas, such as Brighton, Bournemouth and Bristol, increased bus journeys in the period.
This dramatic fall, at a time of rising pollution, deaths from air quality, huge congestion, the loss of city centre shops and rising obesity in Leicester, is a horrific indictment of the Mayor's transport policy. It means that local authorities such as Blackpool, Southampton Bristol, York, Hull and Bournemouth have all overtaken Leicester, as their transport policies succeed.
Mags Lewis, from Leicester Green Party, said:
“These figures are truly shocking. Leicester was performing quite well until 2010, with many journeys being made by bus, but the collapse in our performance has got even worse since the Mayor was appointed, despite his manifesto pledges to improve public transport in the city. Leicester is clogging up with congestion, choking from air pollution, and risks losing its place as a retail centre if the Mayor does not get a grip.
It is simply not good enough for the Mayor to blame his transport failures on lack of powers or the private companies who hold the contracts. Why have many areas overtaken us, and what are areas such as Nottingham, Bristol, Blackpool and York doing that we cannot? What's the point of having a Mayor if he cannot take responsibility and lead here?
We've seen Leicester tumble down the table and be overtaken by local authorities facing similar challenges and the same lack of powers, so what are they doing differently?
If the speed of this decline is not addressed, we risk losing our environment, health, and jobs. An integrated transport strategy, with public transport at its heart, is vitally important for everyone and the good of our city, economically and environmentally. We need leadership, not excuses here!”
For further comment, please contact Mags Lewis on 07961 033 579