Plenty of buses to choose from in Hackney, London, in June 2018

An inquiry into the bus system in England outside London was launched today (16 July 2018) by the House of Commons transport committee.

Years of service cuts following the withdrawal of government subsidies have led to bus use plummeting by 40% in English metropolitan areas.

Many rail users rely on buses to get to their local railway station.

In London, bus use per person has increased by 52% over the past 25 years, increasing substantially after major investment by Mayor Ken Livingstone from 2000.

MPs will consider the reliability of bus services, how they are run in metro-mayor, other metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, how bus services are financed, and examples of innovation and best practice. 
The committee is particularly interested to receive evidence on the Department for Transport’s policies on buses.

It will also consider how reliable buses are, how bus companies deal with congestion, bus priority measures and the lack of buses for isolated communities in rural and urban areas.

The MPs will consider how lack of funding has decimated services, and other issues such as fares, grants, and regulations for operators and local authorities. 
“There are a number of reasons for the sharp decline in bus use in England outside London over the past 25 years. Congestion, car ownership, an increase in online shopping, and reductions in local authority subsidies all play a part,” said Lilian Greenwood, chair of the committee.

“We will be asking about the most effective models for bus companies. The financing of buses, investment in services and value for money and progress since the Bus Services Act 2017 in metro and non-metro areas will all come under consideration. 
“Buses are a vital lifeline in many communities but with funding streams falling and fares rising, their availability and attractiveness to the travelling public is under threat. A successful bus market can cut congestion, reduce social isolation, help the environment and offer a variety of economic benefits. I would encourage anyone with insight into this sector to submit evidence.” 
Written submissions to the inquiry can be made via the evidence portal on the committee’s website at

The deadline for submissions is  24 September 2018.  
Guidance for individuals and organisations giving written or oral evidence to House of Commons Select Committees is available on Parliament’s webpages: