London buses: Annual journeys drop by 800 million since 2016

 (Abellio )
(Abellio )

There has been a dramatic drop in Londoners taking bus journeys across the capital since 2016, latest Liberal Democrat figures show.

In the study, the data from the House of Commons library showed that passenger journeys had fallen by 800 million (35.6 per cent) since 2015/16 amid claims that bus cuts have damaged Londoner’s trust in their reliability.

In the year 2015/16 Londoners took a total of 2,293 million journeys by bus which fell to 1,476 million in 2021/22.

The number of journeys dropped even further to just 856 million in 2020/21 due to the pandemic but has failed to recover to pre-lockdown levels.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London insisted passenger numbers across the transport network were still recovering following the impact of the pandemic with some restrictions “still in place”.

Bus operator staff levels have nearly fallen by 10 per cent in the same period from 30,701 in 2015/16 to 27,678 the latest data shows. Bus occupancy is also down 34.4 per cent since 2015/16.

Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park Sarah Olney told the Standard: “Sadiq Khan has cut bus services and these figures show he has damaged Londoners’ trust in their reliability as a result.

“For residents in boroughs such as Kingston and Sutton, services are already not good enough. Yet rather than accept Liberal Democrat proposals to fund improvements to buses, Khan is set to do the opposite and cut valuable routes like the 213 and 57.

She added: “Instead of continuing to put his head in the sand, the Mayor should wake up, invest in buses and prove to outer Londoners he is serious about building trust in public transport.”

The revelations come as the Liberal Democrat Group in City Hall put forward an amendment to give an extra £50million to bus services which was blocked by Labour members of the London Assembly on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor has done everything in his powers to protect bus services across the capital. But the Government need to realise that cuts have consequences. Not only did the Government decide to scrap their £700m operating grant to TfL in 2015, but it was a condition of the Government’s recent short-term funding deal that millions of miles of bus routes were cut.

“Despite the actions of ministers Sadiq has stepped in and provided an additional £25m every year to save the majority of bus routes that were proposed to be cut in central and inner London, and adding more than one million kilometres to the bus network in outer London.

“Sadiq has also introduced the Hopper fare to make the bus network more affordable for millions of journeys, while investing in greening London’s bus fleet to make it one of the greenest in the world.”