How we travel

Bus remains the most commonly used form of public transport in Great Britain, according to new research from the Office of National Statistics. The study, ‘How we Travel’, suggested that while rail accounts for the most distance travelled by public transport, the highest number of all journeys in Great Britain in 2013/14 were via bus (63%). The number of bus journeys in the nation outside of London has fallen by more than a third since 1985/86, while the number in the capital has doubled over the same period. Over half of all bus passenger journeys in England in 2013/14 occurred in London, suggesting bus travel in the city is an important driver of overall trends in Great Britain. Combining figures for inside and outside the capital, bus passenger journeys increased overall in 2013/14.

Buses and coaches accounted for the second largest proportion of all distance travelled in 1980. However, distance travelled by buses and coaches has since declined and from 2001 rail was the mode of transport responsible for the second largest distance travelled in Great Britain. The largest proportion of distance travelled on public transport in 1985/86 was by bus. However, in 2013/14 rail accounted for 59% of all passenger kilometres, over double that for buses (29%). Passenger distance travelled by both light rail and tram and the underground remained relatively low throughout the period, although they are increasing.

Since 1980, the total distance travelled has increased, predominantly due to increased travel via cars, vans and taxis. Between 1980 and 1990 growth was rapid; this then steadied until 2007, when distance travelled started to level and then fall slightly. Distance travelled by rail has also risen, particularly in the last 20 years. The distance travelled in 2013 was more than double that in 1980. Cars, vans and taxis’ share of distance travelled has remained fairly stable. In 2013, they accounted for 83% of all passenger distance travelled in Great Britain. The number of licensed motor vehicles has continued to rise, increasing in every year but one, from 19m in 1980 to an all-time high of 35m in 2013.

Visit to see the report.

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