Brits take more train journeys as MPs criticise UK bus services

Marion Dakers
BRITAIN’S railways have seen a surge in traffic in the last quarter – but the bus network, which carries three times the number of passengers, remains “the Cinderella of public transport”, according to MPs.

More than 360m train journeys were made in the three months to 30 June, a rise of four per cent on a year ago, figures out yesterday from the Office of Rail Regulation show.

In London and the south east the rise is even more pronounced, with a 5.4 per cent hike in traffic to 246m journeys.

Meanwhile Southeastern said it took more than 1m customers to the Paralympics via its high-speed Javelin link.

But the transport select committee yesterday pointed out that Brits make almost 5bn journeys by bus every year – and that customers have to put up with more late services and confusing tickets than on the railways.

Around half the bus journeys made in Britain now take place in London, as passenger numbers elsewhere have trailed off.

The MPs proposed a nationwide franchising system similar to that used for rail routes and on the London network to improve competition.

However, they argued that widespread head-to-head competition would not be good for the bus industry, as it would destabilise vital services.

The committee also endorsed ongoing work to roll out Oyster-style payment cards on more regional rail and bus services.