Statistics published by the Government show that Brighton & Hove is bucking the national trend when it comes to bus use.
BRIGHTON & Hove continues to have the highest rate of bus use outside London with 49.2 million passenger journeys made in 2017/18.
This total is up from 45.6 million in 2015/16 and a significant rise from the 40.8 million passenger journeys made in 2009/10. Twice as many passenger journeys are being made now than in 1993.
The council say the continued popularity of the bus in the city can be explained by their award-winning Quality Bus Partnership with the bus operators, which creates the conditions for frequent, effective services run with modern vehicles and the latest information technology.
Brighton & Hove City Council works with Brighton & Hove buses, The Big Lemon and Compass Travel to support zero and low emission bus services across the city. The council plans and funds a number of bus services including some complete routes and a number of weekend and school services. As these services are not profitable, they would not run without council funding. The council’s overall budget for supporting bus services is £1,041,900 per annum.
All of the city’s buses are fitted with the latest Euro 6 low emission engines which meet clean air requirements. The Big Lemon buses are now solar-powered, having previously run on waste cooking oil. It is expected that their electric bus fleet will be up and running in the near future.
Supporting sustainable bus travel is parts of the council’s wider strategy to improve air quality in the city, which has included securing government funding to fit 76 buses and 22 taxis with clean air technology, introducing a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and establishing an Air Quality Programme Board. This year, 200 Electric Vehicle charging points will be installed across the city thanks to a successful bid by the council for £300,000 of Government funding.
Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Councillor Gill Mitchell, said: “We are committed to supporting low emission, sustainable travel to help improve air quality in the city.
“We have the highest rate of bus use of any local authority outside of London so it is vital that we do everything we can to improve the efficiency and reduce the emissions of the city’s buses.
“A lot of work has been done with the local bus companies to ensure we are joined up in our approach and we look forward to continuing our work with them to see what more can be done.”