New report The Value of the Bus to Society
Better local bus services would improve employment and reduce social deprivation, says a report.
A 10% improvement in bus services would lead to almost 10,000 more people in work in the poorest neighbourhoods in England, says the study.
Published by sustainable transport group Greener Journeys, the report involved researchers from KPMG and the Institute for Transport Studies at Leeds university.
The Value of the Bus to Society study sought to investigate and quantify the impact of bus services on tackling social deprivation.
It found that a 10% improvement in local bus services is linked to a 3.6% reduction in social deprivation across England, taking into account employment, income, life expectancy and skills.
It concludes that a 10% improvement in local bus services in England’s 10% most deprived neighbourhoods would result in 9,909 more jobs.
The report says better bus services would mean 22,647 people with increased income, the result of a 2.8% drop in income deprivation.
It builds on existing research by Greener Journeys which shows that buses bring huge economic benefits to the UK.
Some 3.5m people in the UK travel to work by bus, and these commuters generate more than £64bn worth of goods and services per year, says the group.
Furthermore, proper investment in local bus infrastructure delivers vast rewards, with every £1 spent on local bus priority measures delivering up to £7 in economic benefit.
Among its recommendations, Greener Journeys is calling on Government to prioritise investment in buses and local bus infrastructure
It is also asking decision makers to consider the wider social benefits of projects when appraising transport schemes and investment cases.
Green Journeys chief executive Claire Haigh said: “Bus travel doesn’t just benefit the economy, it can also help alleviate deprivation and improve people’s life chances.
“This new evidence shows that bus investment is not just a transport policy – it is a health policy, an education policy, a skills policy, a wellbeing policy, and a social cohesion policy.
“We urge government to consider these findings when contemplating future investment in bus services. Bus investment can deliver truly inclusive and sustainable economic growth.”
Katie Schmuecker, head of policy at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said solving poverty was vital to meet the government’s promise of making the UK a country that worked for everyone.
“As this report shows, buses play a central part in fighting poverty, keeping those on lower incomes or the unemployed, connected to economic opportunities.”
She added: “A good bus service can make the difference to whether someone can sustain a job, access vital public services or shop around for low cost goods and services.”
For the full report, click here