Austerity and privatised bus services are to blame for new Department of Transport (DoT) figures that bus journeys in Britain, excluding London have hit a record low, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union said today (Tuesday 17 December).

The figures, which showed there were nine million fewer journeys in Britain in 2018/19 compared to 2017/18 when London was excluded from the data, came as bus fares went up by 3.3 per cent.

Commenting Unite national officer Bobby Morton said: “Bus companies that are more interested in lining shareholders’ pockets than providing passengers with a decent service, combined with austerity-led cuts to bus routes are to blame for this record fall in journeys.

 “Years of cuts to local authorities by successive Conservative governments have resulted in councils pulling funding for lifeline bus routes in rural areas, while bus companies rake in millions from sticking to the most profitable routes and leaving everyone else stranded.

 “These profits are not put back into the public service they are generated from. Under investment is chronic and it is the passengers, and the drivers forced to work ever more demanding schedules for diminishing rewards that suffer.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.


  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.